Etsy Is Now Making Credit Card Readers

And they're free for anyone selling their goods on the site.
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Eliza Brooke
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And they're free for anyone selling their goods on the site.
The Etsy reader. Photo: 

The Etsy reader. Photo: 

After launching a private wholesale marketplace connecting retailers and crafters in August, Etsy is taking another step into the world of offline commerce. The company is now handing out custom credit card readers -- for free -- to sellers who also do a portion of their business in-person. 

The device -- developed by the mobile commerce company Roam -- is free. Etsy takes a 2.75 percent cut on each swipe, which is less than what the e-commerce site takes on online orders and the same as Square's transaction fee. Amazon's card reader currently takes only a 1.75 percent cut but will bump that up to 2.5 percent in January 2016.

But Etsy is really hoping to win its sellers over from the competition with the promise of instant integration of online and offline sales.

According to Camilla Velasquez, Etsy's director of payments and multi-channel sales, at least a third of sellers on the platform also market their goods in the physical world, often at craft fairs. And this group has been vocal about asking for more tools to sync up their online and offline sales. As you might imagine, a disjoint between the two could pose issues when a seller is running low on stock -- not to mention that it's just an added layer of difficulty when analyzing one's overall business.

The debit and credit card reader immediately reflects in-person purchases in the online shop. Etsy will be rolling out detailed sales reporting tools down the line, Valesquez says, showing sellers what products sold best at x fair on y date, or which items sell best online and which sell best offline. 

"[Those tools] don't exist yet, but we're working on it so we can get feedback and give [sellers] the right reporting tools," Velasquez says.