Credit Card Etiquette for Wholesalers

Do your wholesale terms require payment by credit card? Use these tips to keep business relationships cordial while still getting paid.


How to use Credit Card Etiquette when selling your handmade work at wholesale. Read about it at


Paying wholesale invoices by credit card is very popular. As the vendor, you get paid right away, and don’t have to worry about collections. And, depending on the date the card is charged, the buyer still has time to pay their credit card vendor (up to 30 days) and they often accrue air mileage and other types of rewards points on their card. Keep in mind that you will incur merchant services fees for the transaction.

If you ask for a credit card number when the order is placed, the buyer may decline. Why? Because they have been burned before when placing future orders with vendors who charged their card right away. That is not ethical – it’s called an “interest free loan” and will lose you customers.

Never charge a credit card until shortly before you ship out the order. If you don’t have the credit card number yet, call a day or two before shipment to get the number. The buyer may have several cards, and want to determine which one to use at that time.

After the customer pays on credit for the opening order, they may ask you to grant Net 30 terms on subsequent orders. You might want to consider that. If the store is doing well with your merchandise, they have an incentive to pay you in full and on time, so they can continue ordering and keep a solid relationship with you. Get their credit sheet, and check out references before you give anyone these terms.

A question that some artists have asked is “Should I take a deposit on a wholesale order when it is placed?” The answer is no, wholesale orders do not involve deposits. The only exception to this would be a custom order for merchandise that is not in your regular wholesale line and is being made specifically for that retailer.

In that case, it comes under the category of a “commission” and in that case, a 50% deposit is appropriate. If you take a special commission order, you should also have a penalty for cancellation written into the contract if you have started work on their order before it is cancelled.

Paying by credit card when the order is shipped is fairly standard procedure, but be aware that it is against the policies of credit card companies to allow payment of a Net 30 balance by using a credit card.


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