Credit cards are an integral consumer convenience for shoppers, but for retailers, getting up and running with credit card payments can be a major hassle. Aside from having to jump through all the hoops with the credit card issuers and payment processors, you have to invest in equipment, card readers and other hardware. That’s all well and good for established brick and mortar stores, but what about artists, street vendors and other small businesses with small or mobile footprints? Fear not: as always, smartphones have come to the rescue. Check out some of these cool ways to accept credit card payments on your iPhone.
Square is a free app that lets you swipe credit cards and accept payments right on your iPhone. The software emails customers their receipt and sends your own internal accounting department information about sales tax, inventory, etc. The service is entirely fee-based, meaning there aren’t any contracts or setup fees. All you pay is 2.75% of the transaction amount plus 15 cents per transaction. If you don’t use it, you don’t pay.
PAYware Mobile Reader
The PAYware Mobile Reader is a hot contender to Square, offering an additional layer of encryption and security to the reader. Set up is less simple than Square, however, and pricing isn’t published on their website—you have to contact a VeriFone sales rep to get started. But like Square, you can use your iPhone to swipe credit cards and track purchases.
The Mophie Marketplace is an iPhone card reader backed by Intuit, the fine makers of QuickBooks, and at $180.00 for the hardware alone, it’s a bit more serious of a solution. Like Square, using the Mophie Marketplace to accept credit card payments doesn’t require a setup fee, nor does it come with a cancellation fee attached. However, you do have to pay a monthly fee for service. But because you’re using Intuit’s own card processing solution, it makes an excellent fit for your existing QuickBooks accounting system.
These are just a few of the card reader apps for the iPhone that you can use to accept credit card payments. While the war for mobile payments is heating up, there are some features you should be on the lookout for. Security, of course, is key—compromising your customer’s financial data can cause you liability issues and shake their confidence in your company. But it’s also important to get a credit card reader that physically reads the strip on the credit card. There are a few that allow you to key in the numbers by hand—much like you would when ordering online—but these come with a higher credit card processing fee. These transactions are known as “card not present” transactions, and aside from being less secure, they can wind up costing you a lot more in the long run as opposed to swiping cards directly.
Either way, these great iPhone apps for credit card processing are a far cry from those carbon copy machines that essentially make a rubbing of the credit card. These will allow you to do business on the go—whether you’re a contractor, babysitter, door-to-door salesman, hot dog vendor or artist.