Paying for things by card is a popular option for a lot of people. In fact, I even know some people who prefer not to carry cash around any more, and pay by card wherever possible.
As you may know, chip and pin credit card readers are a lot more readily obtainable as a consumer level purchase. This means you can go out there and start accepting card payments. In recent times, musicians have taken full advantage of this.
Once of the most popular uses for these portable card readers is to accept payment for merch at gigs. If you regularly sell merchandise at shows, you've probably heard the excuse “I would buy it, but I've no more cash on me.” Well, with these card readers, you can put an end to that (often genuine) excuse and get those extra sales.
But even though card readers are readily available and a lot of musicians are already using them at gigs, should you get one? Below I'll look at the right and wrong times to invest in one of these.
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The Right Time For Musicians To Get A Card Reader
If you fit into most or all of the below, you should probably get your own card read:
You Regularly Perform Live Gigs
The more gigs you play, the more likely it is you're going to stumble on people who want to buy your music. Not only will you be making your fans happy by giving them what they want, but you'll also be making your music career a lot more profitable.
If you've gigging say three times a month or more, then it's probably worth you buying a credit and debit card reader. Providing the following is true:
You Have Physical Merchandise To Sell
Portable chip and pin readers are mostly used for selling physical goods. While you can get imaginative and use them for intangible goods, if you don't have any merch to sell, chances are you won't need a reader.
Even if you only have your CDs to sell at shows and you do regular gigs, it may still be worth you getting one of these gadgets. If you don't have much or any merch however, chances are you can do without one of these for now.
You Have A Growing Fanbase
As your fanbase grows, you'll come across more people who want to buy from you. On top of that, you'll probably start getting more opportunities and meeting up with fans at gigs and industry events. If this is the case, a card reader is essential. It's easier to convince fans to buy from you when you're giving the offer personally, so a card reader will make you a lot more money in these events. So be sure to get one.
The Wrong Time To Get A Debit Card Reader
On the flip side of the coin, while card readers are handy to have and can save you sales (and make extra ones), there are situations where you'd probably be best to put off getting a card reader, at least for the moment. Below are such times.
Any Of The Above Three Reasons Don't Apply To You
So let's say you don't regularly play gigs, you don't have any merch, and your fanbase in practically non existent. Should get your a card reader? Urm, no. There will simply be no need for it. Furthermore, the money you'd spend on getting a reader would be better put elsewhere, such as buying merch to sell in future.
You Can't Afford It
If you're really struggling for money and have spent the last cash you have on buying merch (or something else), than buying a chip and pin reader shouldn't be your main priority. Yes it can make you extra sales and make your music career more profitable in the long run, but you can still make money without it. People still do carry cash around, and people will still buy from you with or without a reader.
That said, you should aim to get a card reader in future if you're regularly gigging, as it will make you more money. Save up with any money you make from gigs, and invest into getting one for any future shows you do.
You Live In A Country Which Where Cash Is Preferred To Card
While card readers are becoming increasingly popular in the US and UK, there are still a lot of countries where people prefer to pay for things via cash. If you live in such a country, than card readers aren't going to be anywhere near as important as they are in card loving countries.
I haven't personally traveled to every country to see gigs, so I can't give a list of countries you should and shouldn't get card readers for. But if you know paying by card isn't that popular where you live, then bare this in mind.
Portable chip and pin readers can be very useful in the right situations. They can save you sales, and they can increase your income. That said, they're not for everyone. After reading this guide you should have a better idea of whether or not it's currently worth you getting one.