Laptops, tablets, e-readers and smartphones: nearly every one of us has at least one of these items. They simply make life easier. We can manage our bills and bank account online, take and store pictures on our phones, and connect to the world in just a matter of seconds. But the technology of today isn’t only changing the way we live our lives; it’s changing how we do business.
Thanks to smartphones like the iPhone and Android, companies or individuals can now save loads on credit card processing costs by accepting plastic via their cell phone. It’s a simple and affordable way to offer this payment method to your customers without signing a contract or paying the steep monthly fees of a big card-processing merchant.
With mobile card processing, you’re not tied down to a card terminal stuck on a counter, as in a typical store or business; you can accept payments nearly anywhere you have phone service. You simply type the transaction amount into your phone; swipe the card using a device that plugs into your headphone jack, and the payment is processed and deposited into your bank account. It’s quick, easy and painless.
Who Offers These Services?
There are two big companies that offer this newly emerging technology: GoPayment and Square. To get started with either of these, you’ll first need to head to their website and apply for an account. Once your account is approved, the company will send you what’s called a “dongle” via snail mail. This is a small device that will plug into the headphone jack on the top of your phone. It’s easily inserted and removed, and it’s where you will swipe all cards you want to process.
Next, you’ll need to download the corresponding application for your mobile payment processor. If you go with GoPayment on your iPhone, for example, you’ll need to head to the app store, find the GoPayment app and install it. This app is where you will type in transaction numbers and send them off for processing. It’s also where you will manually key in card numbers if a card is not present for a transaction, like in an over-the-phone order.
Cost to Swipe Credit Cards on a Smartphone
Now these aren’t free services; but they’re much more affordable than your typical card processing merchant. Mobile processors charge a small fee per each transaction you swipe. Specifically, these two applications charge:
For Square, you’ll be charged 2.75 percent of each swiped transaction; on keyed in ones, you’ll pay 3.5 percent of the transaction, plus a .15 cent fee.
For GoPayment, you’ll be charged 2.7 percent for a swiped card and 3.7 percent for a keyed-in one. They offer a second payment options, as well: 1.7 percent for swiped cards and 2.7 percent for keyed-in ones, if you pay a monthly $12.95 subscription fee.
If you’re a business just starting out, one that accepts sporadic card payments, or one that could just can’t be tied down to a card processing terminal, mobile credit card processing may be the right answer for you. It can save money and time, while still allowing you to offer plastic payment options to your customers. Or if you are an individual that would like to occasionally accept credit card payments from friends or family, these services are great.
This post is provided by Eric Stauffer, who reviews companies like Square and GoPayment. His firm helps small business owners find the best payment processing, and helps them with contract negotiation.