Making more money, getting paid faster, attracting more customers—these are some of the goals of many small-business owners. A mobile payment app can help reach all of them.
Mobile payment apps run on your smartphone or tablet and let you accept payments from customers or clients on the go. Mobile payment apps can work for you if:
- You or your employees frequently meet with clients at their homes or places of business, then have to bill them later after services are performed. Mobile apps let you bill and get paid on the spot, with no lag time.
- You have a retail store, restaurant or other business where many customers want to pay at once. Using mobile payment apps, your salespeople can go to the customers instead of customers having to wait in line.
- You sell products or services at varying locations, such as at outdoor events or conferences. With mobile payment apps, you no longer have to rely solely on accepting checks or turning away potential customers who don’t have cash.
Mobile payment apps have matured since they first came on the scene. Let's take a look at five that have shaken out as winners.
The Square card reader attaches to your device to swipe credit cards. You can get an unlimited number of readers for free. There are no setup fees, charge-back fees or ongoing fees. You pay a 2.75 percent fee per swiped transaction. Customers can sign on the device, input a tip and choose to get receipts printed, emailed or texted to them. Download the Square Register point-of-sale app, too, and you can record payments and track sales information
Do you already use QuickBooks for your small-business accounting? Then check out Intuit GoPayment. It’s designed to work with QuickBooks and Intuit Point of Sale products. Transactions automatically synchronize to help you better manage your business accounting. Use a free card reader on your device to swipe or scan cards. Charges are processed instantly, and you can email or text customers receipts. Prices vary; the pay-as-you-go plan offers zero ongoing fees with small percent swiped transaction fees. If you’ve got a higher volume of mobile charges, pay a set rate per month for a 1.6 percent swipe rate.
With a $49.95 monthly fee in addition to 2.39 percent per-swipe fees, PaySimple is more expensive than the other apps mentioned here. However, its free mobile app and card reader provides a lot of flexibility. Use the mobile card reader on your iPhone or iPad to swipe credit cards and debit cards. You can also accept ACH and e-check payments, accept online payments and send electronic invoices. Do you perform monthly, quarterly or annual services such as pest control or carpet cleaning? PaySimple lets you set up recurring billing and payments, and securely stores customers’ payment information so you don’t have to ask for it every time you visit. Customers can sign right on the device and get receipts emailed to them.
Available for iOS and Android devices, PayPal Here has the familiarity of a trusted name on its side to make your customers feel comfortable using it. This mobile payment solution lets you accept credit cards, debit cards or transfer funds directly from the customer’s bank account. Costs for the no-commitment plan (there’s no setup or cancellation fee) are 2.7 percent per swiped transaction. Funds are deposited immediately.
Get a free mobile card reader and app and you can swipe credit cards for 2.7 percent per transaction. Unlimited accounts are available so you can view each employee’s transaction history and performance. Email or print detailed receipts; they even include a photo and description of the purchase. Detailed in-app and online reporting tools enable you to stay on top of your sales. Got big plans? Pay Anywhere is scalable, so as your business grows, you can take advantage of the lower per-transaction fees for higher-volume sales.
A version of this article was originally published on June 6, 2014.