Accepting plastic isn’t just for big businesses and corporations anymore. Thanks to mobile payment applications like GoPayment and Square, virtually anyone with a smartphone has the ability to take credit and debit card payments on the fly.
Using a small card swiping device and a simple iPhone or Android app, plastic is processed in just a matter of minutes with these services, making them perfect options for start-ups, companies on the go and just about anyone who needs to accept the occasional personal payment.
Set up for both Square and GoPayment is fairly easy. First, head over to the service’s website and sign up for an account. A quick note when deciding which service to go with: GoPayment requires you pass a credit check before it will approve you; Square does not. Approval for a Square account is immediate, and as soon as you have input bank details you can begin accepting transactions and transferring funds.
Once you’ve signed up and been approved for an account, you’ll be sent a card-swiping device, also called a dongle, through snail mail. This small gadget plugs into the headphone jack of your phone and is where you will swipe all credit and debit cards when processing.
Next, you’ll need to download your service’s corresponding phone app. You’ll need to use this application for any transactions you want to run. Simply type in the charge amount, swipe the card and ta-da! Transaction processed. Be sure you have set up and verified your bank account within the system before you begin processing payments, though, otherwise there will be nowhere for those funds to be transferred! Typically, transaction funds show up in a user’s bank account within just a few days.
Square and GoPayment both offer two pricing schedules: one based strictly on per-transaction rates, and another at a monthly fee. The costs break down like this:
Per transaction: 2.75 percent for swiped cards and 3.5 percent + .15 cents for keyed-in cards (Manually keyed-in cards typically cost more to process because of the increased likelihood of fraud.)
Monthly: $275 per month for unlimited swiped transactions. Keyed-in transactions still cost 3.5 percent + .15 cents.
Per transaction: 2.7 percent for swiped cards and 3.7 percent for keyed-in cards
Monthly: $12.95 per month, plus a 1.7 percent transaction fee for swiped cards and a 2.7 percent transaction fee for keyed-in cards
For businesses that expect to have lots of transaction volume, the monthly packages may be the most cost-effective option. An individual who plans to only use card processing occasionally would likely be best served by the per-transaction rates.
If you’re the owner of a small business, start-up or mobile company, GoPayment and Square are great options that allow you to accept credit card payments without breaking the bank with typical card processing merchants or being tied down to a static credit card terminal. They’re also convenient for anyone who may need to accept personal payments; it can even make splitting the dinner bill easier!
Eric Stauffer is a small business blogger and advocate. He helps business owners setup credit card processing without getting ripped off.