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Processing Credit Cards at Farmer’s Markets

Payment processing to merchant accounts can be accomplished using various methods, but it can be a bit “tricky” when the businesses are selling at a farmer’s market and the merchants are not set up with expensive equipment. If it is just a small farmer, for instance, he really does not want to have to use such equipment to make his small profit.

With more low income families and elderly than ever using food stamps, their benefits are now saved electronically on plastic cards much like debit or credit cards rather than on paper vouchers. The WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Programs improve access to fresh, nutritious, locally grown foods while also providing an additional source of revenue for the local farmers. EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) cards, which are used for these electronic benefits and food assistance, can now be used at farmer’s markets in many circumstances. This means that fresh produce sellers who are able to accept electronic benefit cards through a credit card have access to a completely new customer pool.

The USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture), as part of the ongoing campaign to end obesity, is encouraging access to fresh produce for people who receive food-based assistance. With the current focus on nutrition and eating fresh food, shoppers are on the lookout for stall owners who have ways of taking these cards.

EBT is the technology usually used today for such food stamp purchases, and the card is usually run through the same POS (Point of Sale) machine used for other forms of electronic payment.

However, farmers markets and roadside produce stands usually operate where land-line telephones and electricity are not accessible, which prevents the use of the normal on-site POS machines. Merchants may want to have wireless credit card terminals and be able to take PIN debit information because many cards require a personal identification number.

Payment processing for merchant accounts is often made much simpler by today’s technology because one easy method is just using a “smart phone”, which is lightweight and portable. Using mobile payment is done without a phone line or credit card terminal. This type of system offers e-mail or text receipts and values security for their users so that no information is stored on the phone that could fall into the hands of criminals.

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