Until not all that long ago, accepting credit and debit card payments was not particularly elegant for any business that met the customer away from a brick-and-mortar location. For example, a mobile service such as towing, plumbing, on-site glass repair, or any of a host of others was generally limited to voice card verification—dialing in, talking to a customer service rep or IVR system, reading or punching in the merchant number, card information, and transaction amount, and writing down an approval code. Find out everything you need to know about the mobile payment processing options available to small businesses by visiting this website business soudan.
It was also generally necessary to capture a card imprint with one of those industrial-strength metal-and-plastic card imprinters and a carbon sales slip for maximum protection against chargebacks.
Even if you don’t personally remember those days, you can see how cumbersome and time-consuming this process was. (If you’re a tow truck driver standing with a customer huddled under an umbrella in a downpour, how much time do you think they want to spend on your payment processing?) Moreover, new card acceptance procedures (such as prohibitions on printing the entire card number on a customer receipt) were particularly burdensome for these labor-intensive processing systems.
Should You Use a SmartPhone?
If you are on the road, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to find a payment processing system that can be integrated with your smartphone. Relatively speaking, the smartphone is a newcomer to the payment processing marketplace. Only a decade ago, the most capable mobile device out there was the BlackBerry—and that’s the two-way pager BlackBerry, not the phone.
So it was that one of the first mobile payment platforms (in the form of a card swipe that attached to the pager) was made for the BlackBerry. Limited by today’s standards, it was nevertheless a blessing for the advancement of mobile payment processing. Discover the most important hints and suggestions regarding mobile payment processing that the owner of a small business should be aware of. Come on over to business hotel navi right away!
The advent of the smartphone, of course, has more recently made a tremendous difference. The computing power of these devices allowed the integration of card-processing software and add-on swipes. Beyond that, these platforms typically enable the merchant to e-mail a receipt to the customer, eliminating any need to print a hard copy. Some systems, however, do provide the option of a paper receipt if your business requires it; the most common method is a connection to a Bluetooth-enabled printer.
Another very important issue is that of PCI compliance, which is centered on (but not limited to) data encryption to protect card account information from the sort of breaches that have compromised tens or hundreds of thousands of consumers. Today’s advanced mobile payment systems are powerful enough to be compliant.
Many systems (both hardware and software) are available free from merchant processors. As with anything else offered as “free,” you should do your research to ensure that the system can do what your business needs and that you are not ultimately paying more in ongoing fees than you would have spent on a one-time expense. Read reviews for hardware in particular; some swipes are flimsy or less reliable than others.
On the software side, you will find straight software packages (that is, that reside on the mobile device like any other app), portals to a web-based platform, and even hybrids. Which one is right for you will depend on your needs and what capabilities the platform has. Some hybrid systems (Intuit’s has one) have basic functions in the app but access to many more processing tasks available online.
The flexibility of mobile payment processing does come with a cost. Transaction fees are generally higher than for a traditional fixed system, typically ranging from roughly 2.5% to 2.75%. Examine your available options carefully, since pay-per-swipe arrangements (very common with mobile processing since it tends to be lower-volume) are naturally more expensive. Once you cross a threshold of monthly card sales volume, you will probably be eligible for a lower rate in exchange for a fixed monthly fee. The tipping point tends to be between $1,250 and $1,500.
Finally, dig into exactly what the mobile platform you’re considering will let you do. See what functions it offers beyond basic sale transactions. Can you process a refund? If so, what about a partial refund? Can you pre-authorize a charge? Are recurring charges an option? Find out as well what sort of reporting options you have.
If you do business away from a fixed location—whether sometimes or all the time—your customers will increasingly expect you to take card payments nonetheless. Aside from how common they are, card payments will often produce higher average tickets. And naturally, you’re far more protected from fraud than you would be accepting a check.
What was cumbersome and expensive just a decade ago is now easy, reliable, and cost-effective. If your mobile business isn’t accepting cards on the go, it’s time to take a hard look at mobile payment processing options. Learn how you may optimize the payment process and even increase revenue by switching to mobile payments. Get in touch with the experts at Business Services Chicago today.