Ring, ring: cell phone credit card processing; the ins and outs
Ever made a payment with a credit card at an art show, or flea market, or even a small sidewalk café? If you have, it’s likely that you’ve encountered mobile credit card payments. While cell phone credit processing may seem odd, it’s not new. In fact, it’s what drives some of more popular payment solutions for smaller businesses today. Accepting credit cards on mobile devices, say an iPhone or an iPad, is extremely convenient and potentially lucrative for many types of businesses. Just think: you no longer have to rely on cash or check payments when you’re doing business outside of your business’s four walls. It’s particularly helpful if your business doesn’t have walls, say if you’re an artist with a studio, or an antiques seller without a store, or pushcart vendor always on the move.
Here’s how mobile payment processing works:
- You sign up for mobile credit card processing with a merchant account provider.
- You receive a credit card reader – often called a “dongle” – that typically plugs into the headphone jack of a smartphone or tablet.
- You download a payments app that turns your iPhone, iPad or other mobile device into a “cash register”, using the dongle to swipe or insert cards or even accept payments from other mobile devices.
- You’re ready to begin running payment transactions on your smartphone or tablet – anywhere you have a cellular data or wireless internet connection
Who uses mobile credit card processing?
These days, there are many types of businesses, or individuals, who’d benefit from on-the-go card processing. Here are just a few:
- A contractor – like a plumber, painter or handyman – out on a job
- Yoga teacher offering classes in a park
- Artist selling his or her work at a fair
- Food truck vendor parked in front of an office building at lunchtime
- Direct sales rep selling her wares at an in-home party
Benefits of payment processing on a mobile device
First and foremost, when you take payments with a mobile device you will attract new clientele who prefer the security and handiness of paying with a credit or debit card, versus cash or check. It also means a lot less work for you. You’ll also reap the following benefits:
- Ease of use. As described above, accepting a card payment with a smartphone or tablet is as easy as opening a mobile app, entering key transaction information and swiping or inserting a card.
- Freedom to expand your business. With mobile payment processing, you can accept credit card and debit card payments anywhere you have a wifi or cellular data connection. You’re no longer tied down to only doing busy on the POS terminal at your checkout counter.
- Low cost, quick setup. Typically, the costs to set up mobile processing are quite low. Couple this with the fact that you probably already own a tablet or smartphone that can run mobile apps, and you’ll be up and running with mobile payments in no time and minimal expense.
- Peace-of-mind security. The days of having to keep track of cash or paper checks when you do business out in the field are over. With card processing, you’ll get immediate assurance that your customer has the funds in his or her account – plus you won’t have to worry about employees handling cash or having to deposit paper checks.
- Quicker funding to your bank account. You may even get credit card funds from mobile transactions available in your bank account more quickly than having to wait on traditional checks to clear. That leaves you with more cash flow to keep your business moving and growing.
Consider whether accepting credit cards on smart phones is right for you
With all these great benefits of accepting credit cards using an iPhone, iPad or other mobile device, you may wonder why you wouldn’t sign up today. Well, there are a couple limitations you want to consider to know if mobile payment processing is a good fit for your small business. For example, if it’s important to your business that your payments system be integrated with other systems like inventory management or your accounting platform, then mobile payments might not be right for you, unless they’re integrated with the rest of your in-store or online payments . Today, the advances in mobile payment processing can make even that easier. In the process, they’re helping to power up smaller businesses and independent sellers to new heights in commerce—sometimes even outpacing the big boys.
Stay tuned to Vantiv to keep a pulse on what’s coming next with mobile payments processing.