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Should you switch to a mobile payment system?

Mobile payment systems make sense for mobile businesses because they need their equipment to be portable. But what about regular businesses in brick-and-mortar establishments? If you run a sporting goods store, fast food restaurant or coffee shop, could you benefit from switching to mobile technology for credit card transactions? Experts say: Maybe.  

iphone-terminal

Here are 5 ways that switching to a mobile payment system could benefit your business:

1. Spend less to make more
A typical merchant account costs significant money in a variety of forms. You have to pay to activate the service, keep it going monthly and process transactions. Sometimes you even have to pay extra fees if you process fewer or greater transactions than you anticipated.

The benefit of mobile payment systems is that your payments are simplified -- and even reduced. The service, for example, charges a simple 2.75 percent charge per transaction. There are no other confusing fees to catch you off-guard.

Plus, mobile payment systems don't require the expensive hardware common among traditional merchant accounts. If you are a start-up business with limited capital, this can help you get up and running faster.

2. Go green
One of the main benefits of mobile payment systems is that they operate electronically -- from swiping the card to signing for the purchase, to issuing a receipt. You can let your customers know your business is reducing its carbon footprint, something that many consumers are looking for.

3. Save space
The beauty of mobile payment systems is that they are compact. Square, for example, is a tiny card reader that plugs into your iPhone, iPad or Android. This means no enormous machines to clutter your counter and get in the way.

Additionally, a mobile payment system allows you to use equipment you already own. Smart phones are so common these days that it makes sense to get as much use out of them as you can. And even if you have to purchase a smart phone, iPad or other device, it is bound to be less expensive than the hardware required of most merchant accounts.

4. Work faster
As Jason Pontin of Technology Review points out, traditional merchant account processing takes time. You have to punch numbers into your computer, punch additional numbers in a credit card reader, wait for the transaction to go through, print a receipt, get that receipt signed and give the customer his or her copy of the receipt. Then you have to store your own copy of the receipt, close out the machine and get on with business.

If you use mobile payment systems, however, the process takes much less time. Square, for example, is a streamlined approach to credit card processing. Each screen is designed with simplicity in mind, and you don't have to worry about fumbling with buttons, pens, tiny receipts or other time-wasters.

5. Reduce training
It is important to look at the whole picture when choosing a merchant account. For example, when you use a traditional credit card processing service, you have to train all of your employees to use it. This alone can take several weeks as you show new staff members where all the buttons are and how to use the system effectively.

A mobile payment system, however, is very intuitive. You can train employees in a single hour on the job, which means they start working faster and you're paying them to benefit your business, rather than to learn how to benefit your business.

The final verdict
Mobile payment systems aren't just for businesses that operate on the road. Although it might not be an ideal system for everyone, business owners should explore all their options to find the best merchant account for their needs.

Article by Steve Thompson

See related: Are the security concerns over Square's mobile payment device valid?; 8 reasons why a mobile merchant account is for you

Published: April 13,2021

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