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Taking Electronic Payments through Your Smartphone: Perfect for Startups and Small Businesses

Few customers carry cash anymore. This can be a challenge for small mobile businesses that do not want to pay the high costs of buying a wireless credit card reader plus paying transaction fees. However, by not accepting credit cards your business is losing money. You can increase your revenue without affecting your bottom line by turning your smartphone into your mobile payment system.

How it Works

With a smartphone mobile payment app, your phone becomes your payment center. The basics of how this works are the same for all mobile payment services. You enter the amount to charge and hit total. The apps will have settings that you can change that include sales tax and then calculate the total for you. Customers give you their credit card and you process it through the app on your phone. The customer signs your phone to complete the transaction. The money then goes into your merchant service account.

Depending on the service and app you use, you can get different features to make processing payments simpler or more like that of a standard cash register. Some offer a Bluetooth card reader or a card reader that attaches to your phone so that you do not have to type in the credit card number. Some come with a small printer so you can give a printed receipt. If you don’t want to carry around a printer, you can email the receipt or send it to a cell phone number.

Types of Mobile Payment Services

There are many mobile payment services and apps available with relatively few differences between them. Most have an app that can be used on an iPhone or iPad. Fewer services offer apps for the Android or other smartphones. If you already have a smartphone, then finding one that works on the phone you already have is your best option.

Authorize.Net offers its app for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Intuit GoPayment also works with any Apple plus Android smartphones and as a bonus it can connect with your QuickBooks files. PayPal offers merchant accounts where you can accept payments on your website and through your phone. Square apps work on the Android, iPhone, and iPad. With Square, customers with a Square account won’t even need to give you a credit card. The customer gives you their name to look up their account. You will see a photo of the customer to confirm it is the right customer before processing the transaction.

What to Look For When Choosing a Mobile Payment System

The app is usually free, but you will need to open a merchant account with the provider and will be subject to fees to use the app. Some will charge a monthly fee or a fee for each transaction or a combination of both.

You will want to understand the process for getting access to your funds. You will want to know if the service offers direct deposit into your account in a timely fashion. For some it can take a few days to gain access to your money. Some services, such as PayPal, keep your money in an account until you make the transfer to another account or you can open a PayPal debit card and have instant access to your money.

Another consideration is what kind of fraud protections the service offers. If a credit card is stolen and used, it is generally the merchant that takes the hit. Some offer fraud prevention, such as the customer having to enter a zip code in order to the use the credit card.

It will take some time to research the different options for a smartphone mobile payment system to get the right one for your business. Once you have it set up however, a mobile payment system does not require any extra work on your part and will help your business grow.

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