Mobile payment services (credit card readers) do more than just provide merchants with an additional method of charging customers. They are the ultimate in convenience for shoppers and sellers alike. From a buyer’s perspective, carrying large amounts of cash with them is a burden and also unsafe. Shops that have ‘cash only’ signs are on a slippery slope as those two words could cost them a fortune. Virtually every physical store and every online business accepts credit cards.
But what about businesses on the move? How can they survive unless they haul laptops around with them? This is where mobile credit card readers come in. They allow a business to accept credit card payment anywhere at any time using their mobile phone. It is the ultimate in 24/7 shopping and can significantly boost a company’s revenue.
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How It Works
The first mobile payment service / credit card reader is said to have been the creation of Jack Dorsey who also happened to found Twitter. He created theSquare which is a small plastic box that plugs in a Smartphone’s audio jack. His device contains a slot like a traditional credit card reader where the customer can place his card. As long as you have already downloaded the app, your Smartphone will receive the data that has been transmitted through sound waves. You should always look for readers that are compatible with a number of different phones such as BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, Palm and others. The transaction should be completed within seconds and you have the option to send your customer a receipt.
As there are so many mobile credit card readers on the market, research is key as there is a massive difference between the cheapest and most expensive. Many companies also offer tailor-made plans. Potential charges for using the service include monthly service fees, set up fees, authorization charge and per transaction fee. It should also be noted that swiped credit card transactions carry a lower charge than sales made where the card details were entered manually. Companies also have major differences in their own pricing depending on the package you choose. For example, Intuit GoPayment charges 1.7% for swiped cards on their monthly fee ($12.95) package but 3.7% for keyed in cards on their pay as you go option.
It is only natural to be suspicious when it comes to handing over your credit card details to a stranger on the street corner as credit card fraud and identity theft are still being committed regularly. However, companies who create mobile credit card readers try to reassure customers by stating that the devices do not store the details. They also point out that the card never leaves the customer’s sight which is not always the case in stores. The mobile card reader software should be encrypted (SSL) or else it does not fall in line with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) requirements. In essence, the risk associated with these mobile devices is no greater than with standard card transactions. Nonetheless, make sure the software you purchase complies with PCI-DSS regulations.
Consumers can rest easy as long as the merchant uses mobile credit card software that meets regulations. Their data is safe, their shopping is completed faster and the merchant benefits from sales that may have been lost otherwise.