Online art marketplace Etsy is offering a mobile card reader, Sell on Etsy Reader, to its sellers for free, allowing them to transact in-person.

The Etsy card readers, which plug into a mobile device's headphone jack, connect to the Etsy mobile app, so sellers can accept credit and debit cards. The readers are being introduced in time for the holiday shopping season, and will serve Etsy's sellers, more than one-third of which sell at craft fairs and outdoor markets, the company said in an Oct. 23 blog post.

Cash payments have been the status quo at arts and crafts fairs, but today as consumers go cashless, these micro-merchants find it necessary to take plastic payments.

Etsy charges 2.75% per transaction; the 3.5% Etsy transaction fee does not apply to in-person sales.

The app, available for both iOS and Android devices, will also help merchants manage sales across both channels. In-person sales will be immediately reflected in the Etsy shop and inventory is automatically updated.

Etsy also enables emailed receipts which show other items from the seller with links to their shop.

"We designed this to help drive multi-channel sales and build buyer loyalty, and the sellers who tested the reader found this to be a valuable feature," said Camilla Velasquez, director of the payments and multichannel sales team at Etsy, in the blog post. "Buyers can discover more from the seller, make repeat purchases online and opt in to receive updates from the seller."

The mobile card reader space has been quiet recently, after its explosion in 2012. After Square launched its mobile card reader targeting micro-merchants that had previously only accepted cash, dozens of companies, including Groupon, PayPal and Amazon created their own similar product.

While the trend started in the U.S., many companies, including Square have started expanding into other countries, including most of Europe and Canada. Mobile card reader manufacturers are also pushing the product to larger enterprise customers as well, so sales representatives can check out a customer in the aisle. Plus the manufacturers can make more off the interchange of high-dollar value transactions.

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