Forrester Research predicts that mobile payments are still several years away from mass-market adoption, but for many field techs in smaller organizations, there are some intriguing new payment options that can help slash costs and kill unnecessary paperwork and invoicing. Here’s a rundown of the best options and how their systems can work best out in the field:
Square offers a free card reader — compatible with iOS and Android — that allows users to accept payments on a smartphone or tablet. The toggle is simple and usually deposits money into a specified bank account within 24-hours. Square charges a 2.75% card swipe fee, a slightly higher rate than some competitors, but also offers a flat monthly fee of $275 with no additional swipe charge. You can also create a mobile staff using Square’s application to see who is accepting payments and where. While the white, square gadget looks hip — it may not be the best design for dirty field work, as it can slip from the phone jack and even get lost easily.
For a service tech who already has a few customers using PayPal, PayPal Here can make the payment process even easier — with a card reader that plugs into a smartphone audio jack. PayPal Here can process credit card transactions (for a 2.7% swipe fee) as well as checks and payments directly from PayPal accounts (providing a merchant discount if your customers pay with a PayPal card or a PayPal account). The downside here is also the upside: payments go directly into your PayPal account, rather than into your bank account, which may be inconvenient. The card reader is free and works with Android and iOS devices.
Intuit GoPayment is another plug-in card reader that integrates with QuickBooks — the finance software used by thousands of small businesses — which distinguishes it from other payment options. The service also allows you to run reports, add up to 50 employees to the account, and void transactions on the spot (with other systems, you need to call customer service to cancel a charge). The card reader works with iOS and Android devices. Users can pay per transaction — 2.7% swipe fee — or a monthly fee of $12.95 to get a lower 1.7% swipe fee.