As a small business owner, you may quickly discover that one of the most powerful and versatile tools in your arsenal is your smartphone or tablet. It can be used to track your finances, manage your to-do list, and keep tabs on your important appointments. And it can also give you the ability to accept mobile payments on the go.
If your business is inherently temporary or portable in nature, as would be the case with setting up a stand at the local flea market or craft fair, you’ll want to offer your customers the option of paying by credit card or debit card. Thankfully, there are multiple options available that leverage the existing technology on your mobile device, processing your transactions in a reliable and secure fashion while keeping transaction costs at a minimum.
Intuit QuickBooks is already one of the best-known names in the accounting software space, but it also has a mobile payments system available called GoPayment. Using a card reader that plugs into your mobile device, the system allows you to swipe, scan or key in credit cards. The mobile app, available for Android or iOS, can also be used to record your cash and check payments too. The whole system integrates with QuickBooks for easy accounting and you can personalize your receipts for your customers. Swipe rates start at 1.75% with a 25-cent transaction fee.
If you’ve ever paid for something using a credit card or debit card at a traditional brick-and-mortar business in Canada, then there’s a good chance that you’ve used Moneris. In addition to the traditional systems, Moneris also has PAYD for simple, mobile payments. There are two levels. With PAYD, you can accept most credit cards using the provided card reader. With PAYD PRO, you gain a Bluetooth-enabled Moneris PAYD PIN pad. This lets you accept debit cards, chip and PIN cards, and contactless “tap-to-pay” cards too. There is a monthly plan fee of $19.95, plus a 2.75% charge on most credit card transactions.
Perhaps one of the first and one of the best-known names in the mobile payments space is Square. The company revolutionized and popularized the space with its Square Reader, a small credit card swipe reader that plugs into your headphone jack on your iOS or Android device. Card information is encrypted when the card is swiped and, after the payment is processed, the actual data is not stored on your device. There is no monthly fee and all credit card transactions via swipe are charged a 2.75% fee. If you have to enter the card information manually, it’s a $0.15 charge, plus a 3.5% fee. If your mobile device currently doesn’t have Internet access, you can use offline mode.
Offering “everything you need to sell in person” is Shopify POS. As with the other systems, you get a free credit card reader here as well. What makes the Shopify system more robust is the availability of all the other hardware you’d need to have a more traditional point-of-sale terminal too. These include the cash drawer and Bluetooth-enabled receipt printer, for instance. There is also complete POS software with full inventory management and staff accounts. The basic monthly plan is $9 with a 2.7% credit card rate. This rate drops to 2.4% and 2.15% with the $59 professional and $159 unlimited plans, respectively.
When it comes to online payments, there are few bigger names than PayPal. It only made sense that the company would support mobile payments with a system of its own too. PayPal Here is supported on both iOS and Android devices, using a triangular-shaped card reader. There are no hidden costs and US card swipes are charged at 2.7% and non-US cards have an additional 1% cross-border fee. Keyed in transactions are charged at 3.5% with a $0.15 transaction fee. What’s particularly handy is that customers can pay via PayPal too using the mobile app on their own devices.
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