Seriously, who carries cash any more? Today, 66% of in-store transactions are made with credit, debit, or pre-paid cards, and customers tend to spend more when they use credit cards over cash. If you conduct business on the go, you need to be able to accept credit cards. Luckily, there are several companies offering innovative solutions for accepting credit card payments through your mobile device—and their transaction rates are very reasonable. Here are some of the best.
Square Card Reader ($275 per month or 2.75% per swipe; squareup.com)
The Square Card Reader, which is free when you sign up for Square’s service, plugs into your iDevice’s headphone jack and securely encrypts every card swipe. Once you’ve received the card reader, you can download the Square Register app (free, app2.me/3735) and link it to your bank account. Funds from Square payments are deposited into your bank account within two business days.
With the Square Register app, you can create loyalty cards for repeat customers and send customized receipts by text or email. Your customers can buy or redeem Square gift cards to your business, leave a percentage tip with a simple tap, and, of course, sign their names with their fingertips.
PayPal Here (2.7% per swipe, paypal.com)
PayPal surprised everyone when they jumped on the mobile card reader bandwagon in 2012. Since they already handle a huge amount of transactions, it makes perfect sense. In addition to accepting credit cards, the PayPal Here card reader pairs with the PayPal Here app (free, app2.me/5974) to accept PayPal payments and checks (the latter via the camera function on your iDevice). Funds from swipes are available within minutes in your PayPal account, which you can access immediately if you have a PayPal debit card. Checks could take up to six days to clear. There’s only one fee—2.7% per swipe, which is similar to the transaction fee on PayPal payments. If you have several sales representatives PayPal lets you connect multiple card readers to your account. Like with Square, PayPal will mail you a free card reader when you sign up for their service.
Intuit GoPayment ($12.95 per month + 1.75% per swipe, or 2.75% per swipe; gopayment.com)
The Intuit GoPayment card reader is also free, and works with the GoPayment app (free, app2.me/5975). You can add business logo and contact information to receipts, and the GoPayment app calculates sales tax based on your location. A distinct advantage of Intuit GoPayment is the ability to sync your transactions with QuickBooks. If you process a lot of mobile payments, the Intuit GoPayment card reader is a less expensive alternative in the long run than Square and Paypal Here.
ROAMpay X ($0.38-$1.58 per swipe, roamdata.com)
ROAMpay works in partnership with compatible merchant accounts—it does not sell a merchant accounts service like the other companies listed here. Through the company’s site, you can contact several merchant account providers that are compatible with ROAMpay, and they will set you up with a ROAMpay application. Like other card readers, the ROAMpay X plugs into the iDevice’s headphone jack. However, the additional plastic flaps might create an awkward fit, depending on the case you’re using.
While you have to jump through more hoops to use ROAMpay than any of the other services listed here, the potential benefit is significantly lower transaction rates. Once you’re signed up, you can use the ROAMpay X app (free, app2.me/5976) to capture transactions, signatures, and customer data. You can also use the app to email receipts, track transactions, and transfer funds to your bank account.
Flint (1.95-2.95% + $0.20 per charge, flint.com)
Flint offers a unique solution to accepting payments from your mobile device. There are no card readers or dongles, and you don’t have to worry about setting up a merchant account. Flint uses the Flint Mobile Pay app (free, flint.com) to accept payments, and it uses your iDevice’s camera to securely capture your customer’s credit card information. Some customers may feel unsafe letting you point your iPhone at their credit card as if you’re taking a picture, but they shouldn’t worry—no data or images are saved on the phone, and you have to enter card verification info with every transaction. Like with the other apps, you can also send customized email receipts with loyalty offers, and funds from mobile payments are deposited into your account within two business days. Flint also offers a secure online portal to void transactions, issue refunds, or look up customer information.
Accepting credit cards has never been easier, and these top-notch card reader choices will keep your business running smoothly and looking professional.
Karim is a professional writer and an expert in mobile technology. Many of the benefits of smartphones can be achieved with an always on data connection and with SIM free phones with iPhone SIM only plans, offering flexibility and savings with the contract.