by Erin Steiner
Boy, those Square things look neat, don’t they? You just plug them in to your smartphone, swipe a card, and viola! You get paid! PayPal has a reader now, too. In fact, there are lots of different companies that offer the ability to accept mobile payments. It’s natural to want to get in on the action, but how do you know whether or not this technology is something you truly need?
1. You Have a Smaller Shop
Small shop owners – who, until recently, haven’t been able to take credit card payments because they couldn’t afford merchant services – can set up a mobile payments account within just a few minutes. You can enter card numbers manually until you get your card reader (or you can go buy a card reader – the major vendors sell them in stores like Best Buy now).
2. You Want to Be Able To Sell Things Offline as Well as On
You already sell things online. You have a BandCamp page, you sell eBooks through Amazon and Barnes and Noble, you might even have a thriving Etsy shop. But what if you want to sell stuff offline too?
Until now you had two options: hope you made enough through cash-based sales to break even on the printing or manufacturing of your stuff, or handing out cards that sent people to your website so that they could buy there. Now you can take whatever payment a person wants to use (some mobile processors will even let you take checks). This means more sales, which means more traveling, which means increasing your audience, which means more sales. It’s the best spiral ever.
3. You’re Tired of Waiting for Invoicing
If you do a lot of work in the field (plumbers, electricians, landscapers), having a card reader lets you get paid right away. Many mobile processors will allow you to set up an invoicing system that you can use to invoice your client and take payment for that invoice simultaneously.
Even if you don’t do a lot of field work, having a card swiper and merchant account with a mobile processor is handy because it makes it easier to chase down payments. Everybody has encountered that client – the one that drags his feet on payment, the one you have to bill over and over again. With a mobile reader, you can take payment via his business credit card (the same one he uses to pay for your business lunches) and have the matter settled in seconds.
Mobile payment processing offers you lots of things that traditional payment processing does not (yet). Even if you don’t fall into one of these groups, you might want to open an account just to start taking advantage of everything offered through these service providers.
Erin Steiner is a writer and vlogger from Portland. She writes about small business, entertainment and is active within the PDX geek community.