Point of Sale Readers (otherwise known as POS systems) can be a useful addition to your handmade business
Photo by Brittany Gaiser / Unsplash

Point of Sale Readers (otherwise known as POS systems) can be a useful addition to your handmade business as they allow you to quickly take payment for sales made outside of the Etsy platform. Due to their portability, they can be really useful when running marketstalls - allowing customers to pay directly by card gives a really professional look to your handmade operation.

There are a number of different readers now on the market offering very similar features so it can be a difficult task to assess which one is the right one for your creative business.

Etsy Card Reader

This was launched by Etsy a couple of years back to US sellers on the Etsy marketplace. The reader itself is a small orange device that fits into your smartphone's headphone jack. The app itself can be installed on either an Android or iPhone.

  • 2.75% per Swipe (or 3% + $0.25 if you manually enter the card number)
  • Free to download the app and request a reader
  • No signup fees
  • Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover cards all accepted
  • Sell New or Existing Listings from your existing Etsy store

Comments on the Etsy forums seem to indicate that readers are no longer being sent out or able to be ordered, rumours are that Etsy are replacing this functionality with a partnership with Square in the very near future.

More details about the Etsy Card Reader can be found here:
Etsy Credit Card Reader

Square POS

This is a great, simple to use option for handmade sellers. Square also offers gift card support, customer history, loyalty programs, email marketing and appointment / reservation booking features. As with the Etsy card reader, the Square POS plugs directly into your phone's headset jack.

  • $9.99 to purchase the reader in stores (but there's also a $10 redeemable credit with each purchase making it essentially free)
  • 2.75% percent rate per swipe
  • No monthly fees
  • Record both cash and check transactions
  • Payments made to your bank account next day
  • Square has integrations available with Xero and Quickbooks.

PayPal Here

PayPal Here is PayPal's version of a POS system that is popular with retail businesses around the world - it accepts payments in more than 100 different currencies. While not as feature rich as Square and Etsy for handmade sellers, this POS software can support up to 1,000 users on a single account and an unlimited number of SKUs.

The reader is a little different to the above options in that it is a separate device that connects via bluetooth to your smartphone or tablet.

  • No lock-in or monthly fees
  • Approxiate fee of 2.70% of each sale, however has a complex fee structure compared to Square and Etsy, with preferencial rates geared toward large business.
  • Requires an approved PayPal business account to operate
  • PayPal Here supports Visa, Mastercard, Maestro and American Express.
  • Great option for non-US based handmade sellers

Shopify POS

The Shopify POS is much like the PayPal Here one in that it is a seperate "tap, chip, and swipe" reader device that connects via Bluetooth or USB cable.

  • Rates start from 1.5%
  • The reader costs $89 to purchase
  • Accepts chip, contactless, and magnetic stripe cards
  • Supports Supports Visa, Mastercard, and Apple Pay
  • Uses a customer facing display to help your customers through the payment flow
  • Uses iPad or iPhone to capture customer signatures
  • Does not have an Android app
  • Only available in USD for US Shopify accounts
  • Requires a current Shopify subscribed account

Regardless of the POS you choose above, Craftybase inventory software can integrate with all making your inventory tracking seamless.