Paypal - A Paypal account is essential for artists who wish to sell their wares online. Paypal.com allows customers to make payments via credit card and the payments are safely processed and deposited into the artist's online account. The funds can then be transferred to a local bank or used directly from the online Paypal account.
It is free to register and fairly simple to use Paypal. Artists need to sign up and register a username and password. They then need to verify the account by registering either a credit card, bank account or debit card. Money can then be deposited into the Paypal account using one of these methods. When the artist receives payments, those payments are credited in the Paypal account and can then be transferred to either the bank account, credit card or debit card. Paypal does charge a 2.9% fee to process payments.
Paypal also provides a number of services that members can take advantage of. Paypal users can agree to turn their Paypal account into a money market account that gains interest. Account holders can also sign up for a Paypal debit card that can be used to purchase goods using direct funds from the Paypal account. Perhaps the most useful tool for artists though, is the Paypal Virtual Terminal.
The Paypal Virtual Terminal allows business owners to process credit cards using the computer. It does cost around $30 a month, but for artists who participate in an art show each month, it quickly pays for itself. The great thing about the Virtual Terminal is the high volume of payments that can be processed per month. The Virtual Terminal allows artists to process over $10,000.00 worth of sales a month. It charges a percentage fee on each charge, and the percentage decreases as the number of sales rise. The highest percentage fee is 3.4%.
Artists can use Virtual Terminal with a manual credit card machine or knucklebuster (see K). They simply need to swipe the credit card and make sure the numbers imprint on the receipt. They also need to mark the type of credit card that was used, i.e. Visa, Mastercard, etc. Finally, they need to get the expiration date and the contact information for the person using the card. This information can then be entered into the Virtual Terminal later that night, after the show. At shows where WiFi is available, artists can use Virtual Terminal at their booths from their personal computer.
Propay - Propay is another website that provides a credit card processing service. Unlike Paypal, Propay exists solely to process credit cards for business people. Many artisans prefer Propay because the membership fee costs less, even though the processing fees are roughly the same. Propay uses a graduated membership system with different yearly membership fees.
The least expensive Propay membership, at arond $35.00 a year, allows artists to process Visa and Mastercard but they cannot exceed over $1000.00 in sales each month. The most expensive plan, at around $300.00 a year, allows artists to process Visa, Mastercard, Discover and AmEx and the monthly processing limit starts at $3,000.00. Artists can apply to expand the limit, but there are no guarantees that they will be able to process over $3,000.00 a month. For many artists though, this limit is very reasonable.