Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

We would appreciate your suggestions on buying a tablet for taking credit cards with a new square chip reader

~Also we want to go pre-paid with no contract. your suggestions will be appreciated! Thanks so much. Kathleen Smith & Steven Hedstrom

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Comment by Stewart Rein on November 15, 2016 at 11:32pm

We use our phones to record sales.  We primarily use Square's bluetooth reader as it doesn't have to be plugged into our phones.  This works because the vast majority of our customers have chip cards.  When a customer doesn't have a chip card, we then plug Square's dual or swipe plug in readers into our phones.  The reason we don't use an iPad or iPad mini is because of theft.  Since they don't fit into a pocket, they're more exposed to theft and we have met more than a few artists who have had their's stolen at shows.  Our bluetooth readers can also fit in our pockets or safely away in one of our drawers.  

Comment by greta anthony on November 13, 2016 at 7:10am
I use an LG gpad v815, it takes a Verizon SIM and has a stylus. So far its been great will work with the contactless reader and the swipe reader. It's on the Verizon tablet plan 2gb of data $35 every 2 months. They make an att version I believe that will go on the straightalk tablet plan which I think is cheaper. I just wanted Verizon since I do travel a bit for my shows. I got mime off eBay for $160. Probably cheaper now, it's an 8 inch tablet so it's not too small or big its just right.
Comment by Greg Little on November 9, 2016 at 12:42am

I have a wi-fi hot spot from Consumer Cellular. My wife and i can both use our tablets and phones through it and it will accomodate 8 or 9 devices on our one data plan. Consumer Cellular is also my cell phone provider. It has only a month to month contract and i can change my amount of data that I pay for on a monthly basis. Best plan i have found.

Comment by Judy Christian on November 8, 2016 at 12:05pm

 Bernard,

It might be your plan. Ours is a family plan including two smartphones plus my phone.

Comment by Bernard Zalon on November 8, 2016 at 10:21am
$10 a month? They're charging me &20!
Comment by Judy Christian on November 8, 2016 at 10:13am

I'm also not much of a phone person, esp in public, so I have my phone put away during shows.

It's not on me, it's far away from me. I don't want to be bothered with it at shows.

Comment by Judy Christian on November 8, 2016 at 10:03am

I think I'm one of the last people around to get a cell phone, and I have a basic flip phone, Verizon, which I'm happy with. I had an Samsung tablet for the square, but it was too basic to get the update for the chip reader. After getting advice here, I bought an Apple I pad. I'm happy with it, expensive, yes, but I plan to use it for other things, such as photos to show customers. I'm on Verizon when I'm on the Ipad using square. I have had no trouble with any of it, three years now. It is costing me $10 a month from Verizon for the IPad hookup, which I also use when I'm mobile since I don't have a smartphone. Nice large screen. I would have trouble doing all of that on a phone. My husband, who does shows with me, does have a smartphone, so that would be our backup.

Comment by Lisa SantaMaria on November 8, 2016 at 8:22am
Thanks for breaking it down for me, Barry. I'm 62 and without my kid nearby to guide me electronically, I am lost in space!
Comment by Bari Tarmon on November 8, 2016 at 1:44am
Another thing I forgot to add: with the increased use of Apple Pay, I find that customers like to use their phones to pay instead of their cards. Using Apple Pay is the most secure method yet of payment as it is encoded in such a way that I understand is difficult or impossible to hack.
Comment by Bari Tarmon on November 8, 2016 at 1:38am
I have used Square for over 4 years, first on my iPhone with the early magnetic strip card reader, then the dual strip/chip reader and now with the wireless chip/EMV reader. I have also switched to using an iPad Air 2 which I find customers like as they can sign their name easier and see all the info on the bigger screen. I can always use my iPhone as a backup. I carry the Square reader as well as the older strip reader in my iPhone pouch all the time so I can be ready in case someone away from a show or my home wants to prepay me for a commission or for a photography job. I like the way Square works and the way they keep updating the app with more functions.

I have never had any issues with the reader or connection. My iPad has a cellular SIM card so I don't have to rely on WiFi. It can act as a second phone and has its own number. I'm a big fan of backups of any type. Just as I have several means to secure my show tent, I like to have charging backups. Since my iPhone is in a Mophie Juice Pack, I get the extra charge time in case my iPad runs out of power.

My equipment is kept out of harms way and the sun during shows as I'm always aware of the hot spot caused by the sun. I'm always conscious of direct sun and potential rain and keep a large supply of old white towels and plenty of plastic to protect my artwork and my iPad and briefcase.

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