Not many people these days carry cash. Plastic is the way to go, so businesses must adapt to the changes. Most places accept credit cards at their brick-and-mortar locations.
Fast-food restaurants and gas stations even accept credit cards that work if you tap a smaller version of the credit card on the sensor at the pump or drive-through window. No need to wrestle with your wallet to pull out the card itself.
But what about mobile credit card processing? On-the-go payments are a necessity, especially for stand-alone vendors and traveling businesses.
If you have a business, then you need to be able to process credit cards. Think about it: When is the last time you carried enough money to cover an order of food? And we don’t mean a bag of chips and a soda from the vending machine.
There are several reputable programs and companies that offer mobile credit card processing. While they aren’t free, the fees have decreased considerably from where they were a few years ago.
In the past, companies were forced to purchase or rent a card reader and pay setup and subscription fees, transaction fees, and the list goes on.
One of the biggest steps is the pay-as-you-go plan, which entails a fixed percentage fee as opposed to a flat rate. While these rates can be higher, it allows transactions to be captured by plugging a reader into the audio jack on your smartphone.
These portable readers are less expensive than regular-sized readers, fit into your pocket, and are compatible with Apple and Android products.
There are two ways to handle mobile credit card transactions. The first way is to download a phone app where credit card information can be typed into the phone. The other way is to attach a swiper that plugs into the phone. This device then works with a downloaded app. When the credit card is swiped, the card information is captured and the transaction takes place. Either way, there is no need for a signature.
Picking a plan
There are four top-notch companies that offer these services: Intuit GoPayment, PayAnywhere, Square Card Reader, and VeriFone SAIL.
Obviously, fees accompany each plan, which is why it’s important to be informed. The biggest division is between a pay-as-you-go fee and a monthly fee.
The general rule proclaims that a company should choose a monthly plan if it processes more than $1,300 in payments each month. The fee combines a monthly fee with a lower per-swipe rate. Intuit GoPayment offers a $13 monthly plan with a 1.7 percent swipe fee.
On the other hand, a pay-as-you-go plan charges a higher per-swipe fee, such as GoPayment’s and VeriFone’s 2.7 percent per transaction. Square is the most expensive with a 2.75 percent fee.
Another aspect to consider is whether you want to print receipts, track cash and credit card payments, etc.
PayAnywhere and Square give you the ability to print receipts from apple devices, whereas GoPayment is better for Android phones.
Laura Burkey is a freelance writer who blogs on various topics, including digital technologies, media literacy, and entrepreneurship.