Having variety and flexibility in the payment processing stage can give businesses a competitive edge and enhance their customer service.
By accepting credit card payments on a mobile device, companies can drastically reduce wait times and cater to a wide variety of consumers.
Mobile POS - Who Is It For?
Accepting smartphone payments may seem like a niche function for small vendors. However, the popularity of mPOS systems is quickly rising among stationary and mobile merchants. Below or some of the main industries that can benefit from mobile POS technology.
- Artists & Craftsmen
- Independent Consultants
- Farmer's Markets & Food Trucks
- Cafes & Restaurants
- Service Businesses
- Retail Stores
3 Steps for Accepting Credit Card Payments
Businesses introducing mobile POS technology into their operations can follow the 3 general steps when choosing a mobile device, credit card processing company, and safe usage protocol.
#1- Choose the Mobile Device
Almost all mobile credit card readers can attach to a smartphone device via the charger port or headphone jack. There is also an option to process payments without an adaptor, by manually entering the credit card information into a phone over the internet. However, this option takes more time and effort to process and offers less privacy.
Some services will require a mobile app to function and almost all devices will accept both credit cards and debit cards. Some payment processes may be different for debit cards, so it's essential to understand what is required for each transaction type.
All major platforms - including Android, iOS, Windows, and Blackberry devices - are compatible with mobile POS hardware and near field communication technology.
#2- Select the Credit Card Processing Company
The major credit card processing companies will offer similar functionalities but require various transaction fees, approval rates, and application processes. Additionally, some services may lack features such as voiding transactions from the device or capturing written signatures.
Depending on the processing company, the business would be using either a merchant account or a third-party processor. Merchant accounts are very stable, though they can take longer to set up and there may be more complex requirements in the application process.
A third-party processor is more straightforward, with the application only requiring identity verification to set up payments almost instantly. However, there is less stability in this option as there is more risk of account holds and terminations. When choosing the processing company, organizations should also consider the time it will take for the money to reach the account. Some services will offer deposits instantly or next-day, while others may take longer.
#3- Secure and Update Devices
Before processing any payments, businesses should take the time to ensure all software has been updated and the device is secure. Organizations should refrain from installing apps from websites that are not trusted sources to ensure company and consumer data security.
It is also important to enable a password locking mechanism during business hours in case the device is ever lost or stolen.
Mobile POS Fees
There are 3 main pricing models to consider when accepting credit cards on a smartphone. The ideal payment plan will ultimately depend on the type of business, as well as the value and volume of the transactions. Third-party processors generally offer flat-rate pricing, while merchant service accounts tend to utilize interchange-plus or tiered pricing.
The markup of the processor is the only negotiable cost in this pricing model. Industry experts and large companies prefer this pricing model due to its transparency.
Qualified transactions have the lowest rates, and include basic debit or credit cards swiped at the POS. Mid-qualified transactions generally involve rewards cards being processed at the POS. Non-qualified transactions include corporate cards, keyed-in transactions, and premium rewards cards, which have the most expensive fees.
Processors will consider the business credit history, transaction values, and the industry when determining rates. However, companies can generally expect a range of 2-4% per transaction. Companies may charge as each transaction is processed and/or charge monthly fees.
There will always be fees associated with accepting credit card payments, whether from a mobile device or a standard POS system. The advantages of accepting card payments on a mobile device, such as flexibility, cost reduction, and ease of use all present mobile POS systems as desirable tools for any merchant business.