Accepting credit cards is practically a must for businesses nowadays, but not all businesses are similar, so why should all businesses accept credit cards the same way? It goes without saying that it’s impractical—if not impossible—to bring a large PoS system with you wherever you go. If you’re a business that changes locations frequently, or if it would benefit your team and customers to have a credit card reader brought to them, a mobile credit card reader might be the way to go.
The market is full of options to choose from, and navigating all these choices can be overwhelming. The following tips should help you find the best mobile credit card reader for your company:
1. Decide the level of service you'd like to receive.
There's more to accepting credit cards on the go than just purchasing the machine and swiping cards. To do so properly, you’ll need a reliable service to process those payments.
There are plenty of mobile credit card processing services out there, and each provides a certain amount of support to their customers to help them with their business. Third-party processors, such as Square, offer minimal support.
Opening a merchant account and obtaining a credit card reader through a merchant services provider, such as MerchantPro Express (MPX), will grant access to a suite of other valuable services, such as live customer service, acceptance of EBT and EMV card payments, and chargeback support. Be sure to research exactly what services your provider offers, beyond simply enabling your customers to use a card, as limited support may not be worth the initial savings.
2. Ask about security.
Accepting payments on a mobile device is great for increasing convenience for your employees and customers. This does carry a greater need for security, though. You’ll want to ensure your provider adequately safeguards both.
Third-party services typically offer limited abilities to secure transactions. Mobile credit card readers supported by a merchant account, however, ensure a higher level of security and reduced risk of fraud, due to the more comprehensive underwriting process associated with opening a merchant account.
3. Choose a device with an EMV chip reader.
Virtually all credit card machines include a magnetic stripe reader, but the better devices also include EMV chip readers. Such technology is commonplace for many stationary PoS systems, but not as ubiquitous for mobile readers, so be sure to look for this feature when comparing options.
EMV chip readers are more effective at protecting a card’s data and guarding against fraudulent activities and hackers than magnetic stripes.
Mobile credit card readers can even help protect merchants from incurring some costly expenses. In 2015, businesses became responsible for instances of fraud involving customers with chip cards making purchases from non-EMV-compliant businesses—in other words, those that couldn't accept chip payments. Consequently, mobile credit card readers lacking an EMV chip reader can cost your business money in the long run.
4. Research the fees and see if you can find a customized solution.
Always look closely at the fees associated with using different mobile credit card processors. A lower processing rate, while an important factor, could be hiding some additional fees that might not be so beneficial to your bottom line at the end of the month. For instance, some services charge an additional fee when the merchant types the card information into the credit card reader as opposed to swiping it.
With fees varying so greatly between different services and every business having unique needs, it’s also important to find a processor willing to customize your agreement so the services, rates and fees are appropriate for your business.