If your business has no need for a full-featured cash register, or registers, a simple and cost-effective option is to accept credit-card transactions on a tablet or smart phone. An iPad on a counter, say, equipped with a compact card reader, is a hip, compact solution that actually makes some aspects of the transaction easier than on a bulky point-of-sale terminal. For example, the customer can sign and add a tip right on the screen, rather than on a paper bill, and have a receipt e-mailed to them if they wish. Still need to manage cash transactions and issue paper receipts? The mobile device can handle those, provided you supplement it with a cash drawer and connect it to a printer, respectively.
Even if you have registers, you may need mobile card processing if you sometimes sell at outdoor markets, say, or travel to provide professional services to clients. You can readily add mobile card capability to traditional credit-card processing service. Indeed, the best mobile-payment services in our review -- Flagship Merchant Services, CreditCardProcessing.com and Leaders Merchant Services -- are also the top choices in our review of traditional credit-card processing. services.
Those solutions require a merchant account, an arrangement that’s too costly and elaborate for the very smallest of enterprises. For such businesses -- say, those comprising only a single employee -- the best solution is the service provided by Square. For more information, we invite you to read articles about wireless credit card processing.
The selection process is simple when you focus on a few criteria. Examine pricing and see how the model aligns with your business. Consider the mobile platforms that you intend to use and understand the attributes of the card readers that mobile credit card processors offer. Study the transaction features to see if they match those necessary for your business. Let’s discuss these considerations one by one:
This section of our comparison matrix estimates the savings you’d enjoy by choosing the services that ranked higher than the lowest-scoring (and most expensive) service. To get a custom estimate for your business, enter your own figures into the calculator on the left side of the chart. The section under the calculator shows the monthly total of the per-transaction fees you will pay, depending on whether transactions are swiped through a card reader or card information is keyed into the mobile device manually.
It’s most cost-effective, and convenient, to process mobile credit-card transactions using a mobile card reader. If you physically swipe a card through a reader, each transaction will cost you about 19 cents plus typically one or two percent of the sale amount. Keying in the card number not only takes more time but costs more per transaction, as a rule -- 21 cents, typically, plus two or three percent of the sale amount.
Hardware & Compatibility
All of the services in our review will support the leading devices and platforms, excepting BlackBerry. Only about half of the services in our review support mobile credit card processing on BlackBerry. Fortunately, most of the services in our review equip you with free readers. Readers cost about $80 to buy.
The apps that support the best mobile credit card readers are rich in transaction features. You can access your online account via mobile device in order to manage your account or view reports. These systems are not restricted to credit card transactions. You can process cash sales as well. If you need to void a transaction or process a refund or credit, these functions are available. In addition you can configure the app to prompt for and accept tips and taxes. Your customers sign right on the touchscreen and receive their receipts via email or text. Every provider in our review conforms to the security standards of the Payment Card Industry, which means that at a minimum the app is password protected, the transaction sessions are encrypted at the Secure Socket Layer and no credit card information is stored on your mobile device.
If you are starting up a business that requires you to make transactions in many different locations, or if you want a compact point-of-sales device within a permanent place of business, establish an account with a mobile credit card processor. We suggest that if you focus on the pricing, hardware and transaction features, the best mobile payment solution will become clear.
At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don’t Have To.™