By Alok Saboo on February 27th, 2013
Clunky credit-card terminals are going the way of the buffalo. Smartphones are changing the way small businesses transact and after initial skepticism, there’s a flood of new products that can turn your smartphones into credit-card processors. These convenient devices vary in size and cost, but they all strive for the same goal: simplifying credit-card transactions. There’s plenty of demand for this technology, too. According to Juniper Research, mobile payment volume is expected to hit $670 billion in 2015, compared to $240 billion in 2011.
Take your cut of this growing industry with one of these innovative smartphone credit-card processors.
One of the pioneers of the mobile processing industry, Square, is processing transactions at a rate of $10 billion per year, according to a company tweet. The prominently shaped device (think about the company name) is only slightly bigger than a thumbnail, and ease-of-use makes it the most popular mobile processing systems on the market. Square offers two pricing options. For a $275 monthly fee, business can make up to process up to 21,000 transactions under $400. This option would appeal to high-volume businesses. A second option charges 2.75 percent per card swipe, a potentially more cost-effective option for small businesses.
Paypal redefined the way we transact online, and now the e-commerce giant has thrown its hat into the mobile processing ring. PayPal Here appears to be competing head on with Square. With a 2.7 percent transaction rate, Paypal here ever-so-slightly undercuts Square’s per-transaction rate by .05 percent. Paypal Here accepts most payment types and promises instant access to funds. Consumers may be more likely to trust Paypal Here due to its name recognition and cachet. With the payment processing expertise that Paypal has developed over the years, the company seems to be in a good position to take on its rivals in the mobile processing space.
Payanywhere continues the transaction-rate arms race, charging 2.69 percent per transaction — .01 percent lower than Paypal Here. Available on iOS, Android and Blackberry devices, Payanywhere excepts Visa, American Express, Mastercard and Discover credit cards. Unlike several others in this space, PayAnywhere card reader does not come for free. The card reader is available from several retailes for $10.
While it’s more common for credit-card processing accessories to plug into the headphone jack, Verifone’s smartphone device connects to iPhone’s charging port (a potential problem now that Apple has redesigned this feature for its latest iPhone). The result is a device that is similar to those used by Apple themselves at retail stores. Elegant and easy to swipe, Verifone’s current iPhone model may be the best designed hardware. Verifone also offers a more traditional headphone jack device for Android and Blackberry smartphones. A corresponding app, Payware Mobile, is free to download, but according to Entrepreneur.com, glitches and an awkward interface interfere with performance.
Users can sign up for Verifone’s mobile processing service through Paywaremobile.com. Companies like Capital Processing Network also offer the Payware Mobile through its service, which includes 24-hour customer support.
First introduced without a native card reader, Intuit caught up to the competition when it released it’s free plug-in card reader, which fits nicely above most smartphones. GoPayment’s flexes its muscles when it’s integrated with Intuit’s popular accounting software Quickbooks. When synced with Quickbooks, GoPayment transactions automatically record in the desired category.
Pricing is similar to Square, but instead of a flat monthly pricing option, Intuit charges $12.95 per month, 30 cents per transaction, and 1.7 percent for swiped charges.
RoamData Roampay X
Unlike most providers, users must purchase a card reader through the Roampay X plan, but overall service makes RoamData’s mobile service a viable option. A Payment Card Industry Approved system, Roampay X offers encrypted mobile readers that reduce the risk of credit-card fraud. Roampay offers refunds and cash sale receipts through its intuitive Roampay X app, and iOS, Android and Blackberry users can sign up for the service. Roampay X is only available through a partner merchant service provider, which sets its own transactions rates.
You don’t need to card reader for every credit card processor. You can use almost all of the above apps without a card reader (only if you have the time and patience to enter the details manually). iPay Mobile Point of Sale is one of many non-swipe smartphone processors. You can simply type in the credit card number to process the transaction. IPay Mobile automatically sends email receipts to customers.
Whether you’re doing business on the go, looking to cut down on hardware costs or just launching a business, smartphone credit-card processors offer convenience and affordability. Square equals processing simplicity. If you’re looking for support, hook up Verifone’s Payware system. Intuit will thrive for Quickbooks users and Roamdata offers peace of mind for the security conscious vendor. Don’t want to spring for a card reader? Process transactions with iPay Mobile Point of Sale app.
About the author: This post has been contributed by Donnie Washington. A freelance writer and consultant for SMB’s, Donnie says the future for data recovery is all about cloud computing and backup solutions.