Mobile Payment Solutions For Small Businesses

Mobile Payment Solutions For Small Businesses - PayPal Here Featured

Accepting payments for your services is always a key requirement for a small business, and increasingly card is the payment method of choice in the UK with debit and credit cards used for three in every four pounds spent in shops – up from two in every four just a decade ago.

Cash is king is an expression dating back nearly 30 years, but in the retail market at least it’s becoming less and less true. Cards may not have the same physical attraction as the famous Britons featured on our banknotes, but they are more convenient and less risky to carry around.

The UK Card Payments 2014 report reveals that Britons spent £520 billion on UK goods and services using their debit and credit cards last year.

The increase of mobile point of sale devices is expected to see this trend accelerate, as the choice of mobile transaction options increases, and the cost per transaction comes down.

Increasingly small businesses are ‘going mobile’, attending events and exhibitions to increase their exposure, and secure new sales. The ability to take a card payment in full, or as a deposit, at these events can be the difference between a sale and your details going in a pocket and the customer never to be seen again.

Enter mobile payment solutions, carry a small device and compatible phone or tablet with you and you have the ability to accept card payments wherever you are, subject to mobile network coverage of course.

Most providers offer a physical device that accepts the debit or credit card, and lets the customer enter their PIN securely themselves. The device links either physically, or wirelessly via Bluetooth, to a custom App on a mobile phone or iPad which provides the selling interface and uses the devices data connection to approve the transaction.

The key services you should look into if you’re considering taking mobile payments are iZettle, PayPal Here and WorldPay Zinc but there are others and new providers are coming into the market all the time.

iZettle

A Chip and PIN device costing £59 with a Bluetooth connection to hundreds of compatible devices such as iPhone’s, iPad’s, Samsung and HTC phones. Cost is a percentage of each transaction, starting at 2.75% and reducing steadily as your monthly sales pass £2000 down to a final 1.5%.

PayPal Here

Provided by PayPal, one of the largest online payments service in the world, PayPal Here is their mobile solution. Their reader costs £69.95 and supports both Chip and PIN and Chip and Sign solutions. It works with all iPhones and iPads, most Android phones running Bluetooth 2.0 or greater but no Android tablets (there is a list of unsupported devices).

Cost is a flat 2.75% per transaction with no discount as sales volume increases. With PayPal of course you have the added flexibility of people simply paying you by ‘sending’ you money from their own App directly.

NOTE: You should avoid Chip and Sign as a payment method as the merchant is held liable for any card frauds, which is not the case for chip and pin.

WorldPay Zinc

The WorldPay Zinc is another Chip and PIN device that connects to compatible devices by Bluetooth and is the most expensive of the group at £79.99. Costs wise you can opt for PAYG per transaction pricing at 2.75% or pay a monthly fee of £5.99 for a reduced per transaction fee of 1.95%.

Something else to bear in mind however is the time for payment to reach your business. These mobile solutions typically take a week or longer to total up sales and send your money to your bank, minus their commission of course. Also beware of other hidden costs such as a fixed refund fees (typically £0.75) so make sure you thoroughly compare before deciding.

All of the services provide electronic receipts by email, and some even let the customer sign into Facebook to update their status with their latest transaction!

This post was written by Rob Gordon, an IT geek, gadget lover and blogger. Rob has been using the internets since 1994 when the only streaming video was that coffee pot in Cambridge (rip).... Follow Rob on Twitter - @robgordon - about.me/robgordonuk