Can I Use A Smartphone Or Tablet To Process Credit Cards?

In the past, merchants that wanted to accept credit card payments had to set up terminals. These terminals required credit card transactions to be processed in a single location. However, advances in technology are now allowing for credit card payments to be processed using mobile devices. These tools allow merchants and customers to process payments using iPhones, BlackBerries or Android devices. Setting up this equipment will require a card reader that can be attached to the phone, as well as the software.

Additional Things You Will Need

In addition to the card reader and software which operates with it, you will also need a merchant account. Banks view credit card transactions in the same way they view loans; as a source of potential risk. Because a customer can charge a bunch of goods to their card, with no intention of ever paying it back, banks are stringent about whom they allow to open these accounts. Businesses that desire to open a merchant account will first need to complete a credit check. If your credit is desirable, you will gain the bank’s trust and they’ll grant you the merchant account.

There are a number of fees which are charged for processing payments via smartphones or tablets. Some of these fees include the charge for the merchant account, a percentage of every transaction you process, costs to purchase the hardware and monthly fees. For this reason, merchants should only process mobile payments if they receive a high volume of sales, otherwise, their return on investment may be negative.

Choosing the Right Mobile Device

There are a number of apps and devices which can be used for accepting credit card payments. While all are similar at the most basic level, they come with additional features which may or may not be well suited for your business. It is best to purchase mobile tools which are versatile. This means that they should be compatible with the major smart phones that are used by customers, including Android, iPhone or BlackBerry.

A device that is compatible with multiple mobile platforms is ideal. Most mobile tools will allow you to connect the reader to the phone via the headphone jack, after which you can key in prices and begin swiping the card. No mobile tool will be perfect. All will have pros and cons that merchants must weigh when deciding which model they want to purchase.

The hardware and software should also be simple to setup. If the hardware is free then this is even better. Some providers have no monthly costs, and will instead charge a fee per transaction. While most mobile payment solutions require a merchant account, there are some that do not, and they will verify your identity by using your social security number. Once your identity has been confirmed, the reader will be sent to you, and you can begin accepting payments. The mobile tool you choose should also have a feature that allows you to refund or even void transactions. This will make things easier for both you and your customers.