Accepting Credit Cards on the Fly and Other Tools That Make Life Easier

Square Reader

Square Reader

Just recently, I decided to resurrect Colorado Art Studio as a creative venture and business.  Unfortunately, during my three year hiatus I put all business decisions, paperwork, marketing, research, not to mention MAKING, etc. on the back burner. What this means for me now is that everyday, I dedicate 3 -5 hours to doing just that – well mainly the former – those tasks that necessitate spending copious amounts of time plunked down in front of my computer with phone and notebook/pencil nearby. Instead of staying up on trends and new developments that make life for the independent artist/potter easier, I now have to give myself a crash course in everything that I missed while my energies were elsewhere directed.

I’m testing out small business accounting software, credit card readers, new social media outlets, revisiting my favorite blogs, reregistering and making my business legal again, and more. It’s a bit overwhelming to be honest and I look forward to the day where my time commitment to managing my small business lessens. I choose to do these tasks in the morning since it’s still a bit too chilly in my studio, and then head to the studio after lunch when it’s warmed up. I look forward to reversing my schedule because I am very much a morning person and find myself lagging by 3pm nearly every day. Thank goodness for extra strong French roast!

So, why do I need a credit card reader? I committed to sharing a booth at the Pearl Street Farmers Market on the last Sunday of every month during the market which runs May – November and while I have a “knuckle buster”, I’d rather employ a bit of technology, email a receipt on the spot to my customers, and save a bit of paper. I ordered and signed up for Square Up which ships a free card reader to users. I used to use Propay, but they charged a yearly fee and also charge for their card reader. Paypal apparently also offers a similar service. What I like about Square Up is that I won’t be charged a yearly fee, the card reader was free, I will be able to snap a photo of the item and email the receipt to the customer to remind them what they purchased, and I can set up the tax rate automatically so I don’t need to bring my calculator out. In addition to the reader, I just need to install a little app on my iPhone which is directly linked to my account. Each transaction will cost me 2.7% which seems reasonable.

If you have experience with Square Up, or any other mobile credit card business, I’d love to hear the pros and cons. Of course, I imagine I will still bring my knucklebuster, paper carbon receipts and calculator along as backup.


  • I used my square at the Baltimore ACC show last month and it worked great. Customers are comfortable with it.

    I have heard that the little devise sometimes fails so I ordered a backup just in case.

    • Thanks for chiming in Lisa – I respect your input greatly! Good to know about the potential failure too. If I find myself using it a lot, I might order another one.