We deal with a lot of small businesses on a regular basis and the question of credit card processing often comes up. There are a plethora of options out there for you to choose from and decide on which best works for your
business. It can be a very involved process requiring a lot of shopping around to multiple vendors. Most of the big name credit card processors will generally require a Profit & Loss for the year to guarantee you the best rates that they can offer your business. But what if your business is mobile? Perhaps you might just be paying too much for your credit card processing? Maybe you have cash flow issues because you wait for checks from your customers. Even if you currently have a credit card merchant you may not fully understand the pricing structure and you could be operating at close to 6% charges on some transactions. Thankfully, you always have options.
Mobile credit processing is a relatively new convenience to business owners and private party's alike. Square just launched in May of 2010, making them not even three years old yet at this point in time. Since then, other company's have been jumping into the ring including Intuit, the maker of QuickBooks.
The below three are the mobile processing winners. They're easy to setup, the user interface is streamlined, the fees are all relatively the same, the hardware is free, they support iOS and Android, and best of all they're simple to use. Each has a different feature set and it's up to you to decide which would best match your business needs.
1.) Square - https://squareup.com/
2.75% for swiped and 3.5% + .15cents for keyed transactions. Square also offers a flat $275 per month with no additional fees, some restrictions do apply of course. Square is a stripped down merchant platform from the below payment processors making it the most simplistic to use. The online web interface allows you to only issue full refunds (no partial refunds) but does allow the ability to view transaction data such as sales tax. The real edge to Square is how simple the interface is to use. I've been able to hand this application to any of my friends and family and they've been able to understand it in a matter of minutes.
2.) PayAnywhere - http://www.payanywhere.com/
2.69% per swiped and 3.49% + 19cents for keyed with no other additional fees. PayAnywhere is the most robust of the three allowing you to do an array of varying merchant processing techniques on your mobile device from partial
refunds, preauthorization's, voiding transactions, and even forced transactions. The web interface is equally impressive allowing you to do all of the above along with pulling reports to brake down purchases, sales tax, tips, and a variety of other reports. The coolest feature I found with PayAnywhere was the ability to wirelessly connect to a thermal printer with iOS devices to provide a printed receipt giving it the edge here to the other two competitors.
3.) Intuit GoPayment - http://gopayment.com/
$12.95 a month plus 1.75% on swiped and 2.75% on keyed transactions. The other option is foregoing the monthly charge, which gives you 2.75% for swiped and 3.75% for keyed. When using the application on your iPhone or Android you can issue refunds but can't issue partial refunds. However, if you login to the web interface you're now given the ability to process partial refunds, charge cards for authorized transactions, and setup recurring payments. The most impressive feature about GoPayment is the ability to assign multiple users to a single account.
The honorable mentions below are a few that do offer the service but didn't impress me after my first go around due to either a poor looking user interface, a less then easy initial setup, or a higher barrier of entry...
A.) RoamData RoamPay - http://www.roamdata.com/roampay/us
B.) PayWare Mobile - http://www.paywaremobile.com/
C.) phoneTransact POS - http://www.phonetransact.com/
Mobile card readers are great tools to either complement your business' cash flow by directly requesting payment on a job site instead of waiting for a check to be cut. Mobile card readers also help kick start a front-end store with an
extremely low barrier of entry by simply purchasing a mobile device such as an iPad to use as your POS.
What's the downside to all of this? You typically see higher fees associated with these services and it's always best to check your current merchant rates offered. Even if you don't plan to use a mobile merchant processor the stated rates are a great way to negotiate down your current merchant fees to a more reasonable level.