Mobile Card Readers: Business On The Go

Traditionally, consumers have had to come to your business to make a purchase. But today, mobile card readers are making it possible for merchants to take their businesses straight to their customers. Thanks to these pocket-sized card readers, more and more entrepreneurs are able to expand their company as they can take it from a brick and mortar to booths, kiosks, and vehicles.

Traditionally, consumers have had to come to your business to make a purchase. But today, mobile card readers are making it possible for merchants to take their businesses straight to their customers. Thanks to these pocket-sized card readers, more and more entrepreneurs are able to expand their company as they can take it from a brick and mortar to booths, kiosks, and vehicles. Because of the flexibility these readers offer to business owners, mobile card readers are becoming more prevalent. Just as they range in style, mobile card readers range in quality and functionality as well. To understand which mobile card reader works the best for your company, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons and understand how they work.

How they work

Even at a fraction of the size, mobile card readers actually use the same technology as the large card readers you’d see in a store. The only difference is that it’s all controlled from a smartphone rather than a cash register or large point-of-sale setup. Just like traditional card readers, a customer’s credit card goes through the same payment process with a mobile card reader as it does with a stationary reader. By using GPRS technology and a pre-installed sim card, the reader connects wirelessly to a cellular network—allowing it to connect with all necessary parties.

Pros and Cons

Mobile card readers have several benefits. Other than the fact that they allow merchants to take their business on the road, they also are completely operable from a smartphone. This means your customers can pay with mobile payment forms, as well, so you won’t be scaring any customers away with a “cash only” sign. They also help keep the line moving (or get rid of them completely) because you can process the payment wherever the customer is. Mobile card readers also process payments quickly, making the point of sale efficient and smooth for both you and the customer. With a quick glance at your phone, you can monitor all transactions, sort refunds, and keep track of your stock. Unfortunately, security can be an issue with mobile card readers. While the majority are safe to use, things like identity theft and fraud are still a worry for most users. Although mobile card readers claim to be PCI compliant, that may not always be the case as some companies have been accused of not encrypting card information right away and not having proper authentication mechanisms.

Mobile Readers to Look Into

Square Reader

Square might be the most common mobile card reader. It’s used not just on-the-go but in brick and mortar stores, too. With one flat rate and a promise of no hidden fees, it’s no wonder why it’s so popular. Square allows business to create custom solutions and deposit payments instantly—a luxury for a company that’s always on the move. The catch? Square’s payment processing rate of 2.75% is higher than most, which could be harmful to your small business.

PayPal Readers

The PayPal reader itself doesn’t offer much more than any other reader on this list, but what makes PayPal stand out is their credit option. PayPal checkout comes with the ability to offer customers the opportunity to finance a purchase, helping merchants land big-ticket sales usually reserved for department stores. Along with the credit option, PayPal also offers eligible businesses access to capital to keep inventory stocked and grow their business.

SumUp Reader

SumUp has an impressive reach as it spans into 31 countries and boasts big-name partners like Groupon. Although it processes payments the same way as other options, SumUp claims to be the only mobile card reader to create a custom EMV card terminal which helps reduce the risk of fraud and identity theft. Their rate of 2.65% is still a bit steep, but it’s less costly than what you’ll get with Square.

PayAnywhere Reader

Again, the reader itself is nothing special, but it’s in support where PayAnywhere truly shines. PayAnywhere allows users to view reporting, manage employees, customers, and inventory all while offering live, technical support. After partnering with Homebase, a scheduling software, PayAnywhere claims to save merchants 5-10 hours in scheduling and payroll, offering extra time any business owner would be glad to have. Most business owners can expect to pay about 2.69% per transaction with PayAnywhere (though they have three different payment plans, depending on the size of your business).

Intuit GoPayment Reader

For the first-timers out there, Intuit GoPayment offers a free reader when you sign up. After that, the only fee you’ll pay is a per-transaction fee at a rate of 2.4%+$0.25. It’s a little pricey, but Intuit’s systems can help you sort out tax deductions and track mileage, saving users a reported $7,000 annually. When you’re running a small business, that’s no small chunk of change!While these are only a few options available, it’s important to do research on different mobile readers to ensure you’re getting the best one for your company. If you’re ready to start capitalizing on a wider customer base, then it’s time to take your business on the road with a mobile card reader.

Sam Elkins

Sam Elkins is a Product Manager at Swipesum, and the former Solutions & Integrations Architect. A graduate of University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Sam is an expert in Logistics, Supply Chain Management, and Materials.

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