A Guide to Accepting Credit Card Payments via Smartphone

Business owners who wanted to accept credit card payments once had to go through a fairly complex process to set up the necessary contracts and install the necessary equipment. This led some to skip the entire process, accepting only cash or checks in payment. Of course, business owners who did not operate through a traditional brick-and-mortar location often had no means of accepting credit cards at all, whether they wanted to or not.

For better or for worse, however, today’s consumers expect to be able to pay via credit or debit cards, no matter what the business type or situation. Many no longer carry cash or checkbooks at all. Fortunately, it is now possible for even the smallest or most mobile business owner to easily accept credit card payments, simply by using his or her smartphone.

If you wish to be able to accept credit card payments through your smartphone, you have several different options available to you. The first decision you must make is which credit card payment processing company you prefer. Different providers will vary somewhat in the fees they charge and certain other details, so pay close attention to the specifics of the programs they offer before you sign any agreements. For example, Square’s mobile credit card processing is one of the most popular such programs. It keeps 2.75 percent of each transaction it processes, or a flat fee of $275 per month, depending on your preference.

PayPal offers similar mobile credit card processing options for a slightly lower 2.7 percent of each transaction. However, some business owners have had difficulty with their service in certain situations, so speak with representatives of the company to ensure that it can meet your needs before you begin working with them. Although PayPal and Square are two of the most popular options, quite a few other companies are available as well; investigate a variety to ensure you choose the best service for your situation.

You should also compare when you actually receive the money each company processes for you. For example, Square deposits your earnings to an account of your choosing by the next business day, while PayPal sends them to your PayPal account within a few minutes. Of course, you can then transfer it to an ordinary bank account if you wish, a process that takes a few days.

After you choose which company you wish to work with, you will need to configure your smartphone so that it can begin sending credit card data from your customers to that company. First, you will need to download, install and log in to the proprietary app for the processing company. Second, you will need to set your phone up to receive the data in the first place, so that it can then transmit it. Both PayPal and Square will send you an encrypted card reader for free after you create a merchant account with them. This reader simply plugs into your smartphone; you can then use it to swipe your customer’s credit cards just as you would do in a grocery store. With this technology, you can accept credit card payments in your car, at a craft fair or at your storefront – wherever your business takes you.

Sam Jones the author of this article has two android smartphones to add to his increasing collection.