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How To Process Credit Cards At A Flea Market

Nov 15, 2007
If your business operates at flea markets, you may not realize that you still have the ability to accept credit cards from your customers. It's no secret that shoppers spend more money when they use their credit card, so you definitely want to offer your flea market customers a way to swipe those cards to increase your sales volume.

If you're just starting out, or are a small-time business that occasionally rents booths at flea markets, it may not be in your best interest to sign up for a merchant account with a bank and then purchase the somewhat expensive equipment that would let you physically swipe a card at your flea market booth. On the other hand, if you are a thriving flea market business, you may be able to do just that- and use a satellite internet connection to send the credit card details to the processor.

Using A Telephone to Process Credit Card Payments From Customers

Most of the small and medium sized businesses with flea market or vendor fair booths can't justify the expense of the merchant account equipment. Fortunately, that doesn't mean there is no way to accept credit cards on-site! One of the easiest methods of accepting credit cards from customers in a flea market situation is to use a phone-in method.

Some merchant accounts actually let you call a toll free number, enter in your personal account number to verify your business, and then using your cell phone's keypad, you would enter in the credit card details. The automated system can tell you whether or not the credit card has funds available for their purchase and you can proceed with the sale. This is a superior method to simply writing down the customers card details on an order form, because you never know if the credit card will go through until you've returned home or to the office and entered the details- long after the customer has already received his or her merchandise from your flea market booth!

The fees for an accept-by-telephone credit card processing method are often much less than a traditional merchant account as well. Not only do you not have to purchase the equipment to process the card, but your monthly fees are usually lower. You can expect to pay a one-time fee to join the program, around $100 or so; and then an affordable monthly fee around $5. When you process credit cards by phone, each transaction will be discounted by the discount rate (typically around 3-4% of the transaction price).

Using Your Laptop and Internet Connection to Process Credit Card Payments

If you have a laptop with a wireless connection that works pretty much everywhere you go for flea markets or vendor fairs, your other option is to use a credit card processing system that allows you to accept credit cards via a web form.

For each customer, you would type in their payment details including their name, address, card type and number, expiration date, and even the three or four digit security code found on the back of the card. The web form would send the information through a secure server and return a response to let you know whether or not the card is valid- at which time you can continue processing the sale for the customer or tell them the card was declined.

Using these alternative methods of credit card processing makes it possible for small and medium sized businesses operating booths at vendor fairs and flea markets to increase their sales volume by accepting credit cards as payment.
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