I originally found this article on www.handmadenews.org/ This is something I have been doing for sometime at craft shows that have WiFi access. I feel this article explains it far better than I ever could. I usually take my laptop with me on the off chance that the show will have wifi and I can allow people to check out via Pay Pal. It is much simpler and affordable than buying a credit card machine/processing credit cards and it's safer. The following article explains how to allow customers to check via Pay Pal Using a "Donation" button. I myself have never used this method. At the conclusion of the article I will put in my 2 cents on how I usually have customers pay via Pay Pal at craft shows.
If you have been looking into the options for processing payments at craft fairs you will have noticed that most require some sort of monthly financial commitment that seems a little pointless paying especially if you don't do a fair every month or you don't take many card payments.
However with mobile broadband for netbooks and smartphones it is now possible to take payments through paypal.
First set up a donate paypal button in your paypal account you can do this by going to merchant services and clicking on the link for the buy now buttons then clicking on the donate link in the left menu. Donate is best since you can enter the amount as needed rather than creating buttons for each price and having to use add to cart for customers that want to make multiple purchases.
You don't even have to host the donate button anywhere once it is created you will be able to click through to the page and bookmark that so you can get to it quickly. (if you are using a smartphone you may find it easier to temporarily host the button on a free site builder so you can click through to the link after setting it all up on your home computer.)
For blackberry users you will need to download the opera browser because the default browser automatically goes to the paypal mobile site and this feature isn't possible on that.
Now you should have your donation page bookmarked and all you will need to do when you have a person wanting to pay is go to the bookmarked page, enter the purchase amount (inclusive of any taxes) and put in the card details, if your customer is registered with paypal then they will be able to log in and pay that way if preferred.
Of course there are limits with the paypal system since they do not accept all cards and anyone that has already used their card three times with paypal will need to sign up for an account but you now have a simple and free (other than the cost of your phone/netbook) way to process most card payments. This works best for those outside the US since you will be able to have the payments in your own currency. However if the venue you sell on is in your own currency you can just process through your venue but the donate button makes things faster because you don't have all the purchase steps to jump through.
Sleepy Robot 13's 2 cents:
Ok so I use 1 of 2 methods to allow customers to check out via Pay Pal. The 1st is just using plane old Etsy. I will pull up Etsy on my laptop and if it is an item already for sale in my shop they are purchasing, I just remove the shipping charge and let the customer log into their Etsy account (If they have one) and check as normal. I like this method because it helps me keep track of sales and the customer is able to find me again later if they want to purchase something else (we all know business cards usually end up at the bottom of a purse or junk drawer).
The 2nd method I use is letting the customer check out directly via their Pay Pal account and clicking on the "Send money" tab. Now not all customers will be comfortable with this option because they are logging into their Pay Pal accounts from someone else's computer. For both methods of check out I recommend having cookies turned off on your computer so the customer's information is not saved. The upside to using this method is you avoid Etsy's transaction fees and you have a record of the sale for tax purposes.