You run your own business and you finally have a buyer. He hands you his credit card. Your stomach tightens as you realize you have no way to accept his payment. The sale is gone forever. No, it’s not a bad dream. It’s real life, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Portable credit card readers allow you to accept payment with your smartphone with just the slide of a card, and credit card software allows you take credit card orders on your personal computer. Some credit card merchants may charge monthly fees, but paying a few fees in order to conveniently accept payment is better than making no sales. The convenience to take your business anywhere will enable your company to grow and branch out in ways you never dreamed.
What do credit card merchants allow?
Many credit card merchants such as Visa, Discover, American Express, and Mastercard allow you to accept payment either with a portable credit card reader or by manually typing in the credit card information on your personal computer. An app or software must be installed and sometimes you will need to purchase a card reader device.
Credit card merchants do charge for these services. The fees are typically around 3%, and you may be asked to pay a monthly service fee.
What is a portable credit card reader?
Perhaps you don’t understand how a portable credit card reader works? It’s not as complicated as you might believe. A portable credit card reader plugs into the headphone jack on your smartphone. It is small, lightweight, and easy to use. Once the app is downloaded and installed, you can begin raking in mobile payments with just a gentle swipe of the credit card on the card reader. The sale is registered into your bank account once the buyer signs his name right on the screen of your phone. Most apps allow for you to add tips or to add up multiple purchases into one charge.
Why use a portable card reader?
Many small business owners are always on the go while traveling around trying to earn new customers. Perhaps you have a new food truck or you just started a catering company. Maybe you are a mechanic who makes house calls or you just started a new home business. Whatever you chose to do, you need to make money.
The portable card reader offers the convenience of taking payments anytime and anywhere without worrying about depositing checks or waiting for a client to get cash. They also offer the convenience of sending receipts via email or text.
The portable card reader is great for:
• Swap meets or flea markets
• Food trucks
• Maid services
• Tow truck drivers
• Event photographers
• Home health doctors
• Personal contract workers
• Party and wedding planners
• Tour guides
• Anyone with a small business
And don’t forget about fundraisers. The portable card reader allows you to conveniently accept credit cards at your next charity event.
Are portable credit card readers safe?
If you obtain your credit card reader from a reputable company, then yes, it is safe. Check to make sure the company is trusted and offers secure and encrypted payments. Most of these businesses offer encryption services and never store credit card numbers on your smartphone or on the portable device. They are also experts at securing your funds and exposing fake credit card numbers and thieves. Over a million business owners use portable credit card readers now, and they continue to grow in popularity because they are convenient and safe.
What if the customer is not present to make a payment?
You don’t have to have a card reader to accept payment. There are several apps for a smartphone that allow you to accept credit card numbers over the phone or online, and there are many different types of computer software programs that allow you to use your personal computer to accept credit card payments either online or over the telephone. Some credit card merchants charge more for these services, but the fees are still relatively low and the convenience is priceless.
How long does it take to receive payment?
It’s important to remember that credit card payments are not always instant. It typically takes about two to three business days to receive payment into your account. Before you purchase software or a portable credit card reader device, ask your provider how long it takes for payment to be received. You may not want to get stuck waiting for monthly payouts.
What options are important?
Accepting credit card payments is great for your business, but some devices and programs offer options that help make running your business even easier. Make sure you can link your payments to bookkeeping software programs like QuickBooks so your payments automatically go to your bookkeeping records and save you time.
Also, if you have several employees, make sure you can add them to your account for free. Some programs allow you to add up to 50 users for a portable credit card device. That will increase your ability to make those convenient sales no matter who is working. Also, look for free features that you will need to make business easier like the ability to conveniently void unwanted charges, collect tips, and send paperless receipts.
It’s never too late to grow your business, and with the convenience of mobile payments, the sky is the limit.
Kim Wade is a freelance writer who writes about motherhood, popular culture, and how to accept mobile payments.