When the iPhone was first introduced, few thought it would stimulate growth for small businesses. But this is exactly what is happening.
As more and more customers are ignoring cash in favor of credit cards, small cash-only businesses have had to look for affordable ways to accept cards.
Thanks to innovative technology, even Indian food sellers operating out of a kiosk or a truck can now accept payments from anyone with a credit or debit card.
To put technology to work and get paid any time and anywhere, the merchant’s checklist roughly includes three things:
- An iPhone
- A payment app
- A card reader provided by the mobile payment service provider
Choosing the right service is essential, so here are the best five apps for US businesses to take payments with an iPhone.
Square – no contract, no monthly fixed costs
Square stands out with its comprehensive, easy-to-use free tools and back office. Merchants have no obligations, no need to sign a contract, and pay only if they have a transaction – a single fee of 2.75% per swipe, or 3.5% + 15¢ per keyed transaction. Square is also one of the few mobile card reader companies that do not require a credit check.
Square will deposit the amount the next business day if the transaction takes place before 5 PM. If not, the amount will reach the merchant’s bank account on the second business day.
Contactless payment with Square Reader. To accept swipe, you’ll need the swipe reader that plugs into your iPhone’s audio jack (or adaptor if you have an iPhone 7 or newer model). Photo: Square
While Square works on iOS 9.3.5 or later, it is recommended to take advantage of the most recent app available for iOS for the best app performance.
The most frequent complaint about Square has been lacklustre customer service, leading people to look for alternatives to Square.
PayAnywhere – Mobile or Storefront
PayAnywhere provides two mobile payment solutions plans: Storefront and Mobile. The former includes a free tablet with built-in reader, charging 1.69% per swipe and has a monthly basic service fee of $12.95.
The PayAnywhere card readers connects wirelessly to your cell phone via Bluetooth. Photo: PayAnywhere.
By choosing the Mobile plan, on the other hand, merchants have no monthly fees, but get a free mobile card reader and the PayAnywhere app. As for the cost, merchants are charged $1.69% per swipe, dip and contactless tap and will see their funds deposited in their bank account within one business day with sales processed before 5 PM.
The PayAnywhere app has some great reporting functions where you can customize your analyses to focus on sales, payment methods, employee performance, inventory levels and more.
PayPal Here – cards, cash, eChecks, and PayPal check-in
PayPal is already known for being the leader in online payments, and with PayPal Here, the company has stepped into the field of mobile payments. The app allows merchants to accept payments from any card, charging 2.7% per swipe, or 3.5% +$0.15 per manually entered or scanned card. For non-US cards, there is a 1.5% additional cross-border fee.
PayPal’s latest all-in-one swipe, contactless and chip card reader connects via Bluetooth with the PayPal Here app. Photo: PayPal.
The service offers live customer support, but if you need to get access to your cash quickly, you need to apply for a PayPal Business Debit Mastercard.
Another great feature of PayPal Here is that besides tracking cash sales, merchants can accept both eChecks and mobile payments without the card reader, meaning customers can even pay with PayPal by checking in using the PayPal mobile app.
Intuit GoPayment – synchronization with QuickBooks
Intuit GoPayment was among the first players targeting small businesses with an option to accept payments any time, anywhere. Since Intuit is the maker of QuickBooks (accounting software for small businesses), one of the notable features is the automatic synchronization with QuickBooks.
GoPayment’s All-in-One card reader connects with your iPhone to take EMV chip, contactless and swipe payments from customers.
GoPayment allows merchants to choose between two pricing plans: 1) for a $20 monthly fee, merchants are charged 1.6% per swipe or 3.2% per keyed transaction plus a $0.25 transaction fee; and 2) a contract-free pay-as-you-go plan, which means a 2.4% swipe, dip and contactless fee rate or 3.4% keyed rate and the same $0.25 transaction fee.
Other features include a personalized look and limitless allowed users, which means all your employees can accept payments while on the go.
Clover Go – dedicated merchant account, differing costs
Clover offers a full range of POS products that can be integrated with each other, spanning from the mobile point of sale app Clover Go to full-fledged hardware and software setups for stores. Because you get a full merchant account with Clover Go, it should give your account more stability.
The free Clover Go app provides basic features with optional upgrade options to more advanced features. Some noteworthy features include insights on how your sales activity compares with your competitors, unlimited user accounts with different permission levels and barcode scanning.
Clover Go accepts card-present transactions via tap, swipe and chip cards, as well as keyed-in card payments. Photo: Clover.
What you pay for transactions depends on which reseller you sign up with. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to compare Clover Go’s pricing and fees, and the app even asks you to pay for access to certain features that other free POS apps provide for free. But to give a fee example, Bank of America charges 2.7% per swipe, tap and dip transaction and 3.5% + 15¢ for card-not-present transactions. Contract terms vary between banks and providers, so it’s advised you check for small print questions such as possible early cancellation fees and other hidden costs.