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Dec 1, 201410:01 AMOpen Mic

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Trash your cash register: 3 mobile payment options for your small business

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Have you noticed the Apple Store doesn’t have a single cash register on the premises? And that all payment transactions are conducted by employees using mobile devices?

If you run a business that sells things, you might consider going in the same direction. More small businesses than ever before are turning to mobile payment platforms, and with smartphone use at an all-time high, new technology is making it much easier for small business owners to process credit card payments via smartphones and tablets.

For small businesses and organizations — particularly those that sell products at fairs and events, in restaurants, at concession stands, and door-to-door — these payment solutions offer reliable options for accepting payments other than checks and cash.

When it comes to accepting payments via mobile devices, the following platforms are particularly geared toward small local businesses. There are more, so be sure to read the reviews to help you make informed decisions about which platform makes sense for your needs. You should also ask other business owners for comments on their experience with these devices. And, of course, you should talk to your tax advisers and to your accountant so you have a clear view of how a mobile payment platform will fit into your cash-flow management processes.

Square: The market pioneer and industry leader is used in more than 20,000 retail locations nationwide and processes more than $5 billion in transactions per year. It’s a simple concept. Using a free app and card reader that plugs into an iPhone, iPad, or Android device, businesses and their employees can collect payments by swiping cards through the device. Once payment is accepted, the customer signs the touchscreen with either his or her finger or a stylus. A receipt is sent to the customer via text or email. The cost? Square charges merchants a percentage fee per swipe for most major credit cards, and funds are deposited the next day.

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Dec 11, 2014 02:43 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Mobile payments can be convenient, but they are not for all merchants. For instance, they don't work well in high volume environments because transactions cannot be processed as fast as on a terminal for example. They can also be dropped and broken because most smart phones weren't designed for commercial use.

Mobile providers use an approach called aggregation which is not a full merchant account. It does not go through a full underwriting which means that merchants aren't approved for higher levels of processing. The effect is that the providers often capture the merchant's funds and retain for 30,60,90 days (read the contract, you'll find this to be true). It may be a better option to talk to your current provider about their mobile processing solutions.

Security is another obvious concern. For any mobile processing solution, the magstripe reading heads within the reader should conduct the encrypting process before the data hits the phone. This is because smart phones can be very vulnerable to malware (malicious software) that may capture the data and send it to bad guys. If it's encrypted before entering the phone, it's generally pretty safe.

Local Madison credit card processing providers have these solutions available. Keep it local. Don't fall for providers that only have a sales rep locally.

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