10 Ways To Turn Your Smartphones Into Credit Card Readers
The credit card is one of the easiest payment tools that could be thought up. It makes for easy transactions of large amounts, and minimizes your losses as you need not carry so much cash on you all the time. However, it can work only if the merchant accepts credit cards (and not all merchants accept all kinds of credit cards). Plus, you can only swipe your card if the merchant has a credit card machine.
So what happens when you order home delivery, or get some plumbing or renovation work done and you can’t find enough cash on you to pay them? You can’t expect them to carry a credit card machine around, do you? Well, actually now you can. As long as they have a smartphone on them, they can use the following options to accept your payment via credit card.
Recommended Reading: Mobile Payment Systems: The Era Of A Cashless Future
From Smartphone to Card Reader
Briefly, the merchant needs a mobile app and a card reader, which comes in the form of a piece of plastic (called a dongle). The card reader is plugged into the phone and the app activated. As the receiver of the payment, all you need to do is just punch in the amount for the purchase, swipe your customer’s credit card through the reader, then get their signature to authorize the payment.
Alternatively, credit cards can be manually keyed in, but there are higher transaction fees charged. Electronic receipts can usually be sent to the buyer’s emails for verification and book-keeping purposes. Here are 10 of the most popular credit card payment systems you can adopt.
Square Register offers a costly yet attractive monthly flat rate that forgoes pay-per-transaction fees, which is good news for those of you who make large payments on a regular basis. It also ensures speedy payment (by the next day), and provides email notification whenever a customer deposits a payment into your bank account.
If you wish to develop a loyalty program for your customer, the Square dashboard offers some level of customizability as well. It also extends to purchase receipts, where you have the option of putting your business name and logo on them and letting your customers choose whether to get these receipts as text, email or printed out on a paper. Last but not least, Square Register’s free card reader is only an inch long and fits right into your pocket.
Fees: 2.75% (swiped), 3.50% + $0.15 (keyed-in) or a flat rate of $275 a month.
One thing which other mobile payment services couldn’t match up to PayPal Here is that payment funds are deposited into your PayPal account within minutes of the transaction. It also offers you an optional PayPal merchant debit card which you can then use the funds to make eligible purchases and get 1% cashback from them.
PayPal Here also accepts cheques. All you need to do is take a photograph of the front and back of the cheque to process it. Similarly, you can take photographs of the credit or debit card if you do not have the reader with you, but you will still need to key in the security and zip code manually. PayPal will also charge you the keyed-in rate for that.
Fees: 2.70% (swiped), 3.50% + $0.15 (/keyed-in)
The selling point of Payleven is the recently added security feature provided by their Chip & PIN device which can be remotely linked to a smartphone or tablet through Bluetooth. Customers will be required to enter their PIN on the device to authorize the transaction.
This is especially relevant if you’re doing your business in Europe, where VISA only allows Chip & PIN authorizations for European mobile Point-of-Sale (POS) solutions. When you include VISA card holders into your market, you expand your customer base.
Fees: 2.75% per transaction
Currently only available in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Germany and the UK, iZettle assures online merchants that their mobile payment service is a highly secured one that is EMV- (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) approved and complies with PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) regulations.
No sensitive data will be stored on the mobile device and all data traffic will be encrypted. For an optional one-time fee of £20, you can request for an original chip-card reader (for iPhone and iPad) or audio jack reader (for Android devices). A £20 credit voucher will also be given to you to offset your initial transaction fees.
Fees: 2.75% (swiped), 3.5% + €0.15 (keyed-in).
The credit card reader is free, but if you happen to have already purchased one from a retail store, PayAnywhere is generous enough to rebate you $10 after your first swiped transaction. It also has extensive smartphone support with Apple, Android and BlackBerry mobile devices.
Similar to Square Register, PayAnywhere also deposits funds into your bank account expeditiously within two business days and will inform you via email when they do so. For sales reports and such, you will have the option of viewing them within the PayAnywhere app or by logging into the PayAnywhere Merchant Portal online.
Fees: 2.69% (swiped), 3.49% + $0.19 (keyed-in)
Intuit GoPayment is an excellent choice for small businesses due to its multiple users function. Each account supports up to 50 users in the event that you have several people taking payments. This makes it easier for the company to manage their user content and subscription fees.
Full refunds can also be made for the original transaction amount on-the-spot, but partial refunds have to be done through Intuit’s web interface. Funds are deposited into your bank account within 2-3 days as well.
Non-subscription (free) – 2.75% (swiped), 3.75% (keyed-in)
Subscription ($12.95/mth) – 1.75% (swiped), 2.75% (keyed-in).
Verifone SAIL contains a comprehensive inventory management system that comes complete with barcode scanning function. It even allows you to sync inventory items across different mobile devices and through its web interface, so that it doesn’t inconvenience you when you need to take payments with multiple devices and at different locations.
Unlike many others in the market, it also has a full-fledged 24/7 customer support service complete with live phone support.
Non-subscription (free) – 2.70% (swiped), 3.70% (keyed-in)
Subscription ($9.95/month) – 1.95% (swiped), 2.95% (keyed-in)
Swiff is the only mobile payment service in this list that offers Multi-Factor Authentication. With this enhanced security feature, online merchants can monitor transactions on the mobile device, from authorizations to location of transactions.
If you intend to authorize staff to process credit card paymenst on their mobile devices, this feature will enable you to detect fraud at the earliest opportunity. Further, Swiff also supports a large number of Apple and Android devices for you or your staff to conduct the payment transactions.
Fees: Negotiable, depending on local bank charges, country of operation and nature of business
In PhoneSwipe (available only in he US), a single merchant account can be linked to multiple card readers so as to afford you with the ease of processing credit card payments on different mobile devices. It also has Geo Tax, a system you can turn on, which automatically calculates the tax percentages based on your location.
The account is also unique to each merchant as an added security feature. In other words, your account will not be shared with merchants and exposed to potential fraud.
Fees: 2.69% (swiped), 3.49% + $0.19 (keyed-in)
Groupon Payments offers Groupon merchants the lowest rates for credit card transactions, be it swiped or manual key-in, except for the case of American Express cards where the rate can go up to 3.50% (swiped) depending on your industry category.
Groupon Merchants refer to merchants who have already signed up an account with Groupon to run daily deals. Not to worry though, the entire sign-up takes only 10 minutes to complete. Groupon Payments is therefore meant as an added incentive to encourage existing online merchants to work with Groupon.
Fees: 1.80% + $0.15 (swiped), 2.30% + $0.15 (keyed-in)
Author: Michael Poh
Michael is a freelance blogger and regular contributor for Hongkiat.com. He graduated from the National University of Singapore with a double major in Psychology and Communications & New Media in 2011.He believes in the power of the written word to influence and inspire. An enthusiastic video gamer, Michael is also actively engaged in various physical activities in his spare time.