What you need to know about buying and using a mobile credit card reader?

By: Stehly Barr  |  March 23, 2015

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Mobile credit card readers are revolutionizing the way business is being done. Small businesses and startups have greater potential to grow now because they have more payment options available for their customers.

A mobile credit card reader is a small plastic widget that attaches to the audio jack of your cell phone. Customers can swipe their card through the reader to make a purchase. Since the reader attaches to your phone there is basically not limit to the places where you can process a payment. If you can bring your cell phone there, you can accept payments there.

Here are a few things you should know about mobile credit card readers.

Security

PCI DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. You want to look for companies that adhere to this when searching for a mobile credit reader.

Price of the reader

Most readers these days are free when you sign up for the service. There are a few readers that cost money but paying for a reader now is like paying for shipping on an online order. A couple years ago we didn’t mind paying for shipping and as time goes on we still don’t mind but free shipping has become so widespread that paying for shipping is now the exception and not the norm.

Swipe fees

Every reader has a swipe fee. Swipe fees are the percentage of the purchase that you are charged for processing the credit card payment. The standard swipe fee is a little less than 3%.

Apps and other features

The actual credit card reader that attaches to your phone is synced with an app on your phone. Every company that has a reader has its own app. Most of the features for the app are the same. With the app you can create a receipt, prompt customers to give a tip, calculate tax, track sales, and more depending on how advanced the app is.

Getting help

Companies that exclusively work with mobile credit card readers have struggled with customer service. Already established e-commerce companies or merchant services that develop their own mobile credit card reader have a customer service infrastructure that is in place once the reader is developed.

Summary

Mobile credit card readers have only been around for a few years but more and more companies are starting to develop them. As the market becomes saturated with different readers competition will ensure that each company stays honest and produces the best product possible. Certain companies have already started to think outside the box and are offering their customers attractive features in addition to the reader. If you are a small business it is definitely in your best interest to find a reader that offers the standard features and maybe a little extra.

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