Yes, you can accept credit card, Venmo, or Zelle at a garage sale, but you’ll need a device for accepting credit card payments, such as a mobile card reader, or to link your Venmo or Zelle account to a payment processor.
However, keep in mind that using these payment methods may incur additional fees, so be sure to factor that into the prices of your items.
Because of some of the gray areas around using payment apps to sell goods to people you don’t know, we suggest a cash only garage sale or yard sale. But- if you would still rather use these apps, it is possible to accept apps like Venmo, Zelle or CashApp for payment for garage sale items. Let’s get into it:
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How to accept Venmo at your garage sale
Yes, it’s possible to accept Venmo at your garage sale. Venmo is what I am most comfortable in using and I use it for personal transactions all the time. But according to Venmo, “Venmo was originally designed for people who know and trust each other to send each other payments.” You probably don’t know these people buying from you, so if you want to do this the right way, you’ll want to create an official business profile on Venmo. (You don’t need to be an actual business, you can be a sole proprietor/individual seller of goods)
Venmo writes: The only way to accept payments for goods and services on Venmo is to be explicitly authorized to accept Venmo for purchases, either by applying for a business profile or tag a payment to a personal profile as a purchase.
If you do know the person you can just use Venmo for your garage sale just like you would any other transaction.
The easiest way to take Venmo at your garage sale would be:
- Both people open up their Venmo app
- Seller clicks the middle button for Pay/Request
- Click Scan or show QR code
- Click Venmo me
- Your personal QR code appears for them to scan (open camera app and click link that appears when hovering over the QR code box)
- Buyer pays the seller the agreed upon amount
Now your transaction is complete!
You can also accept Zelle which we’ll get into next.
How to accept Zelle at your garage sale
I love using Zelle for my personal transactions. What’s nice about Zelle is that it is directly tied into your bank, unlike Venmo. Using Zelle at your garage sale or yard sale is a little different than Venmo because Zelle is built into everybody’s individual bank apps. Somebody who has Ally bank will have a slightly different way to do it than somebody with Bank of America or any other bank.
The key thing to know with Zelle is that it is tied to either your phone number or email address. So what you’ll need to do is:
- Know what phone number or email address is tied to your Zelle account
- Tell the buyer what that phone number or email address is
- The buyer will then add a new Zelle recipient in their account
- The buyer can now click your name and pay you
- The seller can confirm that this transaction went through on their end and the transaction is complete
How to accept CashApp at your garage sale
This is the one app that I do not personally have- but you can definitely use CashApp. In my experience CashApp is used more heavily by a younger demographic, so it may be a good idea, as a seller, to have it downloaded on your phone before your garage sale.
Make sure that you get it all set up in time so you don’t miss out on any potential sales from somebody who ONLY has CashApp which I have come across.
Here’s how CashApp says you should tell your garage sale buyer to send you money through the app:
- Open Cash App on your phones
- Enter the amount you would like to send for the garage sale item(s)
- Click on pay
- Enter an email address, phone number, or £Cashtag
- Click pay again
How to use cash at your garage sale
Ah the old classic. We suggest going cash only, and knowing where the nearest ATM is in case you need to tell somebody who asks. Going cash only is the best way to stay on the up and up when it comes to any legal boundaries that may exist with some of these apps and using them to sell goods to people you do not know.
How much cash should you have for a garage sale?
It’s always a good idea to have a reasonable amount of cash on hand at a garage sale, in case customers want to make small purchases. The exact amount will depend on the size of your sale and your expected sales volume, but having at least $100 to $200 in small denominations (e.g. $1, $5, and $10 bills) is a good starting point.
This of course depends on the price of your items and how many things you plan on selling. You may want to have a little more in reserves if you’ve got lots to sell.
It’s also a good idea to have some change, such as quarters, for making change for purchases.
How do I know how much change to give at my garage sale?
When dealing with cash, you’re likely going to be giving change. I highly doubt that every single person will have the exact amount.
The best tool would be having a calculator, even the one on your phone will do the trick.
To make things easy for you, plan out your garage sale pricing strategy. Price items to the nearest dollar or $0.50. Who knows, you may not even need a calculator if your brain can handle the round numbers and doing subtraction in your head. Me personally… I’ll want that calculator as a backup (that I’ll probably just use every single time)
How do you keep money safe at a garage sale?
Having a secure place to store the cash, such as a locked cash box, is also important for security reasons.
Never leave it unattended! We can’t stress this enough. You have strangers wandering around your property with lots of clutter and distractions. It’s easy for somebody to sneak a hand over and grab your cash if you aren’t watching it.