Mobile payment apps are fast becoming a popular mode for web wholesalers and online retailers to generate more sales at offline venues, such as tradeshows and conventions. Various mobile payment platforms enable merchants to accept PayPal, cash, credit cards, invoice or checks, wherever they are, on the phone they already carry. Many of these applications use "dongles," credit card readers in varying shapes, such as a square, triangle and semi-circle, which attach to a smartphone or tablet. Sellers simply slide credit or debit cards through these dongles to capture buyers' information. Mobile payment platforms can be appealing to sellers because fees are generally less than those paid to credit card companies; there are no setup, cancellation or monthly fees; devices are portable; they offer a slew of data services; and most importantly, dongles enable web wholesalers and retailers to capture sales they would not be able to make if they remain cash only. Four of the most popular mobile payment tools are Square, PayPal Here, Intuit GoPayment and PayAnywhere.
Square, launched in 2009 by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, is available for the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android-based mobile phones. The Square card reader plugs into a device's standard 3.5mm headphone jack. It is security standard PCI-DSS Level 1 compliant, and full data encryption occurs at the moment of the credit card swipe. Square offers two pricing plans: a 2.75 percent fee per swipe, or a $275 monthly fee for swiped transactions less than or equal to $400 up to $250,000 per year. All manually entered transactions, regardless of plan, cost 3.5 percent plus 15 cents. Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover have the same rate. Rewards cards also are processed at these rates with no extra fees, and debit cards are also accepted. The Square Register iPad app serves as a full point-of-sale system for businesses to accept payments, track inventory, and share menu and location information. Square is being used by more than two million individuals and businesses, and processing over $8 billion in payments annually.
PayPal Here, a blue triangle dongle that attaches to a smartphone, allows merchants to accept PayPal, cash, credit cards, invoice or checks. The company's credit rate is 2.7 percent. When merchants signup, they are given the option to get a MasterCard debit card and their PayPal Here sales land in this account immediately. Furthermore, merchants get one percent cash back on credit purchases with this card. PayPal Here works with Apple iOS and Android products, and it is backed by PayPal's risk management capabilities. In addition, PayPal Here attracts new customers, as businesses will appear in the PayPal mobile app used by millions of PayPal customers looking for local shops and services. PayPal Here is available to small business sellers in the United States, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and, soon, the U.K.
Intuit GoPayment accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover cards for a fee of 2.75 percent of the total sale for swiped transactions and 3.75 percent for keyed-in transactions. With Intuit's $12.95 monthly subscription plan, fees drop to 1.75 percent per swiped transaction and 2.75 percent per keyed-in transaction. The Intuit GoPayment mobile payment processing system includes a free card reader and apps for iOS 4.0+ devices and most Android phones and tablets.
PayAnywhere offers a free card reader and app for iOS 4.0+ devices, Android 2.1+ phones, and BlackBerry 4.7+ devices, and accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover cards with a transaction fee of 2.69 percent per swipe. Keyed-in transactions are subject to a fee of 3.49 percent plus 19 cents. PayAnywhere lets merchants accept and track cash payments, tips and discounts, as well. Merchants can send customized receipts to customers via email. For iOS devices, merchants can connect an AirPrint-enabled or Star thermal printer and a cash drawer.
With myriad mobile payment applications available, web wholesalers and online retailers cannot afford to miss out on the opportunity to process any and all offline transactions. There are several things to consider, however, before investing in a mobile credit card processing solution. With the broad range of pricing options, services and quality, services should be evaluated to determine which is the best fit for your business.
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