Credit: Mobile payment image via Shutterstock
Looking to convert your tablet into a point-of-sale (POS) system for your business? Need a way to accept credit cards on your smartphone? There are dozens of services out there for those in need of simple, mobile solutions for business.
Here are 25 payment options for those looking to boost sales and build business with mobile solutions.
If you're looking for a no-frills approach to mobile credit card processing, then check out Square. With no monthly fees, no contracts and no merchant accounts, Square is a good solution for businesses that only occasionally need mobile payment processing.
Square links directly with your bank account and accepts payments from all major credit card companies. Its transaction fee of 2.75 percent is a little steep, but with no additional monthly fees, you could end up saving money with Square if you don't use it regularly.
At $12.95 a month, Intuit's GoPayment for iOS and Android devices is another great option for business owners looking for a mobile credit card processor.
The hardware required for swiping credit cards comes at no additional charge, and transaction fees are competitive, at 1.75 percent of total sales. Intuit also offers a pay-as-you-go option for merchants that's almost identical to Square's pricing plan. The swipe rate for the plan, which has no monthly fee, is 2.75 percent per transaction.
If your business is already using QuickBooks or another Intuit Payment Solutions software, then GoPayment might be a great choice for you. It automatically syncs with your accounting software, helping you easily manage your books, even on the go.
Developed by mobile technology company ROAM Data, ROAMpay is a mobile payment processing solution offered by several different merchant service providers. Flagship Merchant Services offers this wireless payment solution at the most competitive rates. The company charges a monthly wireless access fee of $7.95. Each swipe costs 19 cents plus a maximum transaction fee of 1.58 percent.
ROAMpay also partners with several other credit card processing companies, including creditcardprocessing.com, which charges a $7.95 access fee and transaction fees of 20 cents plus 1.55 percent of the total sale. E-commerce exchange also provides ROAMpay to merchants, but pricing is tiered.
[For more information on which ROAMpay reseller might be right for your business and a side-by-side comparison of the best mobile credit card processing solutions, check out our sister site Top Ten Reviews' 2014 mobile credit card processing reviews.]
Most mobile credit card processing companies only allow you to accept credit and debit cards from customers, but PayPal Here allows business owners much more flexibility. With this app and accompanying hardware, your customers can pay directly from their mobile PayPal accounts.
Card-free transactions are easy with PayPal. Customers check in with your business on their mobile PayPal app and then transfer funds to your account to settle their bill. The cost per transaction is 2.7 percent of the final sale, and there are no additional setup costs or monthly fees.
PayPal also recently unveiled another mobile payment option that allows customers to make hands-free, in-store payments. Still in development, PayPal Beacon is a Bluetooth device that will integrate with merchants' existing POS systems and connect with the PayPal app on customers' smartphones when they walk into a store.
To pay for something with Beacon, customers will simply say they're paying with PayPal, and the transaction will be automatically completed. Costs associated with using Beacon are not yet available.
Dwolla is another innovator in the field of mobile payments. But unlike its app-and-reader counterparts, Dwolla doesn't require any additional hardware.
Much like PayPal Here, Dwolla requires customers to log in to an app on their smartphones and select which approved vendor they'd like to pay. Payments are sent directly to the vendor's merchant account, and can be monitored in real time from the merchant's smartphone, tablet or laptop with the Dwolla online kiosk.
Dwolla charges 25 cents per transaction, and there are no additional monthly fees, making it the least-expensive way for merchants to accept mobile payments.
Using near field communication (NFC), Google Wallet allows businesses to accept payments both online and in-store. This quick payment method is a great option for merchants looking to cut back on long lines or those wanting to expand their online customer base.
For in-store transactions, businesses that don't already have an NFC reader can buy or rent one from Google's partner, First Data. Customers with Android phones running the Google Wallet app will then be able to hold their device over the reader to make a payment.
Merchants pay the normal card-present fees for Google Wallet transactions, with no additional charges from Google. Your business can also link its customer loyalty cards or Google Offers to its Google Wallet merchant account to let customers redeem rewards with a single tap of their smartphone.
If your business already uses a payment-processing service online, Google Wallet can be integrated with the service for no extra cost. Or, you can use Google as your new payment processor, with transaction fees starting at 1.9 percent. [Hands On: Google Wallet Tested]
The ISIS Mobile Wallet is another NFC-enabled payment method launched as a joint venture among Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. Accepted by more than 200,000 retailers nationwide, ISIS is poised to be Google Wallet's main competition.
To get started with ISIS, your business will need an NFC reader, which you can rent or buy from your merchant services provider or one of ISIS' partners, listed here. ISIS doesn't charge additional transaction fees for merchants or customers.
MasterCard's PayPass lets your business accept fast payments through an NFC-enabled POS terminal. Customers can tap their NFC-enabled credit card or smartphone over the terminal to make a payment.
PayPass vendors must either purchase a plug-in NFC reader from MasterCard or install a fully integrated POS system from the company. MasterCard does not charge vendors additional usage or transaction fees for the PayPass system.
Having a PayPass terminal in place at your register will allow your business to accept many forms of contactless payments, not just those made with MasterCard. Both Google Wallet and ISIS Mobile Wallet can be used with PayPass readers.
MasterCard also offers a secure digital wallet — the MasterPass— that your business can use to make checkout easier for customers. The service is currently free for both merchants and customers.
Much like MasterCard's PayPass, Visa's payWave allows customers to make contactless payments at a business's POS terminal.
To start accepting contactless payments, businesses can either purchase a new, NFC-enabled POS terminal from Visa, or buy a peripheral NFC reader to add to their existing terminal.
It isn't necessary for businesses to purchase multiple NFC readers from different credit card companies. Visa, MasterCard and American Express all issue NFC-enabled cards and devices that use the same radio-frequency technology.
Visa also offers a digital wallet — V.me— that allows customers to store all of their credit card information online for safe and simple checkouts. No information about the fees and transaction costs for existing vendors adopting V.me or payWave are currently published on Visa's website.
LevelUp is an app that allows merchants to accept mobile payments from any customer, without a credit card. Merchants use a LevelUp terminal, which integrates with their existing POS system, to scan the quick response (QR) code on a customer's smartphone.
In addition to making mobile payments quick and easy, LevelUp lets businesses create unique loyalty programs for customers. Regulars automatically receive credit to their LevelUp account when they frequent their favorite merchants. And the app gives business owners access to a range of powerful analytics tools, so they can keep track of customers and their purchases.
LevelUp charges merchants a 2 percent flat fee on credit card transactions, with no service fees, authorization fees or monthly fees. For marketing campaigns, LevelUp collects a fee of 25 percent of the value of the incentives that merchants offer to customers.
This cloud-based app lets businesses manage payments across multiple sites, payment types and currencies, right from their smartphones. And its parent company, Powa Technologies, offers several other mobile technologies for merchants, making this provider a great option for businesses looking to meet the mobile trend head-on.
mPowa's integrated-POS app enables businesses to send and receive money in more than 20 major currencies, to help businesses avoid paying international transaction fees and foreign exchange fees. The company also gives merchants access to hundreds of international banks and payment services.
Recently, mPowa debuted its chip-and-PIN device for merchants. It differs from most other card readers in that it doesn't connect directly to a merchant's mobile device. Instead, customers' cards are either swiped or inserted into the device, and the information is sent to the merchant via Bluetooth. For chip-and-PIN cards, customers must enter a PIN on the device's keyboard.
mPowa charges a 2.95 percent fee per transaction, plus 49.99 pounds (about $77)for the chip-and-PIN reader.
This company's POS app (and accompanying card reader) works with credit and debit cards, as well as with mobile wallets, QR codes and radio-frequency identification (RFID), also known as contactless payments. Merchants can accept payments in several different currencies.
In addition to its wide array of payment options, PayToo offers international direct-deposit services for employees, free money transfers to other PayToo users and prepaid international credit cards, making it a great option for businesses with a global reach.
PayToo's mobile payment app is free, and there is no monthly service charge. Merchants receive one free credit card reader when they sign up for the service. Transaction fees vary depending on the method of payment and whether the payment is performed in person or online. In store payments with a credit card incur a 2.69 percent fee per transaction, plus a 29-cent fee per authorization.
This app allows merchants to accept payments from customers using only mobile telephone numbers. Merchants can choose to add Boku as a payment option on their website, mobile site or app.
Customers simply enter their mobile-phone number, and payments are added directly to their phone bill. No bank accounts or registration are required.
Boku does not publish pricing information for merchants on its website, but you can apply for a Boku account online by providing your business's basic info.
Like Boku and other bill-to-mobile providers, Payfone isn't a credit card processing solution for merchants, but it is still a mobile payment solution worth exploring. The company's direct carrier billing allows customers to shop in online stores and charge purchases directly to their mobile phone numbers.
Payfone's wireless network is among the most highly trusted in the industry, giving merchants the peace of mind of knowing that the their online customers' data is well secured.
Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) is the retail world's attempt to take mobile payments into its own hands, instead of entrusting them to the corporations behind Google Wallet, ISIS and other mobile platforms.
Details about exactly how the app will work are scarce, but MCX says the venture will offer merchants a "mobile commerce solution that seamlessly integrates payments with a wide range of promotions and services through virtually any smartphone."
An MCX representative said the venture is seeing interest from merchants of all sizes, so business owners should keep their eyes open for opportunities involving this novel mobile payment option.
linked2pay is a great option for businesses looking to fulfill all of their payment needs in one place. While the company offers a mobile app and card reader for merchants, it also functions as a payment gateway for merchant websites and facilitates payments either in person or via email, regular mail or phone.
The full bundle of linked2pay services, which includes credit card and ACH processing, costs $39.95 a month, with no additional transaction fees. Merchants receive a free mobile card reader when they sign up. A cheaper package is also available for merchants that sign up for the company's services but just need to process credit cards with no ACH payments. The monthly cost is $29.95, with no additional transaction fees.
If you're looking for a mobile payment solution that can also function as an in-store POS, then Innerfence might be a great choice for you. The company offers a free app and a sturdy card reader that plugs into the charging dock (not the audio port) of mobile devices. For more versatile in-store use, the company offers credit card readers compatible with PCs running Windows 8.1 or any Mac.
For merchants without an existing credit card processor, Innerfence charges $25 a month for credit card processing, as well as 2.9 percent plus 30 cents per transaction. Prices vary for those who already have a credit card processor but would like to use Innerfence for mobile payments. Small business owners may be able to sign up for the "Individual" plan for as little as $9 a month. The package includes one free card reader compatible with most mobile devices, plus a 1.9 percent fee per transaction.
This mobile payment processing solution from Groupon is giving competitors a run for their money. The no-contract, no-monthly-fee Breadcrumb app serves as a POS system both in store and on the road. The transaction fees are among the lowest in the industry, at 1.8 percent plus 15 cents per swipe.
And if you're not looking for a POS system and only need to use Breadcrumb as a payment processor, you're still in luck. Transaction fees for processing-only plans are still only 1.8 percent plus 15 cents per swipe. Card readers for mobile devices will cost you $15 a piece.
Another app and reader option for businesses is PaySimple. Best known for its user-friendly interface, this mobile credit card processor charges a monthly fee of $34.95. Transaction fees are 2.39 percent of the total sale, plus 29 cents per transaction.
The app also allows merchants to except e-checks (ACH payments) and over-the-phone payments, making it a great tool for those looking for a more comprehensive processing solution.
If you're looking for a mobile payment solution that's sure to keep your customers' data secure, then Forte might be the right choice for you. Forte's sturdy card reader, the iDynamo, features real-time fraud detection and powerful encryption and protection technology that ensures maximum security. The reader costs $99.
The company's processing fees are competitive, with no monthly fees for low-volume merchants and a 2.9 percent flat fee, plus a 25-cent per-transaction fee. For merchants with a higher volume of credit card sales, Forte charges a monthly fee of $24.95. Transaction fees are 1.79 percent of the total sale, plus 25 cents per transaction.
Originally developed by merchant services equipment manufacturer Verifone, the Spark Pay mobile card reader is now offered through Capital One. The company's free app and card reader are great solutions for businesses looking for a simple interface and a straightforward pricing plan.
Spark Pay's Pro Plan, designed for merchants with a high volume of credit card sales, is competitive; it charges a 2.7 percent flat fee per transaction. For lower-volume merchants, the company offers its Go Plan for $9.95 a month. Transaction fees are 1.95 percent per swipe.
With no monthly fees, setup costs or monthly minimum sales requirements, PayAnywhere's app and reader is certainly one of the most straightforward solutions for your mobile payment needs. Like Square, the company offers one flat-rate pricing plan: 2.69 percent per swipe. The app and accompanying reader are both free.
This mobile payment solution from Chase offers merchants a standard app and card reader setup for accepting payments on the go. Chase doesn't publish pricing information for Paymentech mobile processing on its website. But FindTheBest, an online resource for comparing popular goods and services, estimates the service's monthly cost at $17. Paymentech offers tiered pricing to merchants; transaction rates start at 24 cents plus 1.79 percent of the total sale.
Another standard app and reader setup for merchants is Phone Swipe. Much like Square and other popular mobile payment processors, Phone Swipe charges a flat rate of 2.69 percent per transaction, with no additional monthly or swipe fees. The company's app and reader are both free.
This mobile credit card terminal from mobile processing company App Ninjas is a feature-rich app and reader setup. The Swipe reader is offered as a free add-on for those who sign up for a merchant account with App Ninjas.
For merchants with a different merchant services provider, Swipe costs $15 a month. The swipe fee for credit cards is 1.79 percent of the total sale.