Today’s riding instructors have more options for receiving riding lesson payments than ever before. It used to be that students either paid by cash or check. While cash and check are still welcomed, there are other options available.


PayPal offers several different options through their merchant services program. With PayPal you can accept credit cards on your web page, making it easy for parents of students who may not be attending lessons, for example – kids that car pool.

If you’re not up for processing credit cards, you can have students use their Pay Pal account to pay for lessons. I’ve had clients use PayPal this way when they live in a different state and want to buy a lesson package as a Christmas gift.

For people who want to pay on site with a credit card, PayPal has card reader that works on iPhone, tablets and Androids.

PayPal charges a fee to use their service, so be sure to get the details and see if they work well for your business.

PayPal’s instructions are fairly easy to follow.  Find more information by reading PayPal’s overview here. . PayPal might be a good way to collect riding lesson payments for your business.

In her PayPal Review  on Merchant Maverick Review, Melissa Johnson writes : “Accepting PayPal is a no-brainer. Almost everyone has a PayPal account these days (in fact, PayPal claims 165 million active users in 203 markets), it’s incredibly easy to setup and use, and it can get you up and running in a very short amount of time (like, immediately). PayPal is extremely transparent with its terms and pricing, and it doesn’t lock you into a contract with an early termination fee.” Her article covers the pros and cons of using PayPal for your business.

Card Swipers for Your Phone or Tablet

There are numerous card readers for on the go payments. These make collecting riding lesson payments, or any other fee, easy. I’ve already mentioned PayPal. I’ve used both Square and Intuit with my iPhone. The card reader plugs into the connector for your head phone and you down load the app. These work where ever you have cell phone service, so if you’re schooling at a cross country venue, coaching at a show or traveling to other barns for lessons you can be paid right at the time that you teach.

There are several choices for card readers and I’d suggest some internet research to find the one you like the best. They all charge for their services and the fees vary.  Some have hidden fees or situations where they hold your money for a time period, so be sure to check them out carefully.

Square charges a percentage each time you swipe a card. Square doesn’t require a contract, and approval is easy. Plus their card swiper is free. Square can work for even the smallest business and I like that there are no extra fees or monthly fees. Square works with Androids and iPhones.

Intuit charges a monthly fee and a lower than Square per swipe fee. Intuit has the advantage of being connected to Quick Books, which can be helpful. Intuit works with Androids, iPhones, iPads and BlackBerries.

This article on the Business Bee talks about the top 5 card readers.

There are card readers for most tablets and phones. Be sure that the reader you choose works for the operating system on your device. And remember that since card readers require Wi-Fi connection or cellular service, they can eat into your data plan.

This article on compares features of 4 popular card readers.

I started using a card reader on my iPhone about 5 years ago and people were intrigued, but now card readers are common place. If you don’t believe me, visit your local farmer’s market or crafts fair. Card readers for cell phones make it possible take credit cards without having to get involved in merchant accounts. If you want to accept credit cards like big businesses, the card reader could be a good answer for you. It could be an answer for collecting riding lesson payments.

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Barbara Ellin Fox

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