Mobile credit card processing was cutting edge a few years ago, and now apps that let you accept credit cards on your smartphone are everywhere. How do you know which one is right for your small business?

We compiled a checklist to help you analyze your mobile credit card processing needs and select the app that’s best for your small business.checklist

What Are Your Small Business Mobile Payment Needs?

  • Do you have a merchant account? If you don’t have one, you’ll want to find a mobile credit card app that comes bundled with a merchant account. A merchant account is what enables your business to accept credit cards. Be sure to choose a vendor that will walk you through the application process.
  • Do you have repeat customers? If you do, be sure to find a mobile credit card app that associates payments with your customer and that will also securely store your customer’s payment account so that you don’t have to continually ask for credit card information. You’re aiming for a seamless payment experience where you can ask ,“Would you like to put that on your Visa ending in 1234?”. Customers will love the convenience.
  • Will you (or anyone in your office) ever want to process credit cards or manage your customers from a regular computer? If yes, get a mobile credit card processing app that includes a web application you can access from any browser. While it’s become commonplace for mobile credit card apps to include a web application, many just have transaction history lists for exporting. You want something that provides at least all the same functions you have on your mobile app.
  • Do you want payment communications to go to you and your customers? Be sure the app you select facilitates emailing payment receipts and other communications to you, your customer and anyone else at your company that you want to keep in the loop.
  • Do you ever need to collect payment in another way beyond credit card acceptance on the mobile phone? While some small businesses are 100% mobile point of sale, many also still need to send invoices or run payments from a virtual terminal on a computer. If this is you, be sure to find a provider that offers integrated, multiple payment acceptance application.
  • Do you have multiple users? Be sure that the mobile app you select supports multiple users. Watch out for “additional fees per user,” and try to find a vendor that gives you unlimited users.
  • What device(s) will you be using now and potential future plans?  Check that all the features of the mobile app work across all devices. There are apps with some pretty cool features, but read the fine print since some of those “cool features” might only be available on a limited set of devices. Look for potential limiters here too – for example, a sleeve that slides onto your phone to swipe a credit card is very specific to a device, and manufacturers tend to wait a long time to release new sleeves when new phone versions are released.
  • What other systems do you need to share your payment data with? Find a mobile app solution that comes with reporting that can live with your accounting and other systems.

This list should help narrow down the available credit card apps to a short list. But remember, it’s important to pick an app based on more than price. There are other factors to consider.

Questions to Ask About Any Mobile Credit Card Processing App

  • Is it secure? The last thing your small business needs is to be the cause of credit card fraud for a customer. Be sure the vendor you select is PCI compliant and that card numbers are encrypted and not stored on the phone.
  • Does it come with real live phone support? As a small business, you need a real person to help with any credit card processing issues – not some help manual or list of FAQs.
  • How long does it take for you to receive deposits? Accepting payment anytime anywhere isn’t very valuable if you have to wait 30 days before the money even hits your account. Be sure to review the company’s policy for deposits and check for any limits after which your money will get held.
  • Is the pricing straightforward and affordable for a small business? Simple pricing structures are best so you can easily understand what fees will be deducted and plan accordingly. The other thing to watch for are higher rates charged for mobile phone transactions – there’s no need for this, so don’t choose a provider that charges a higher mobile rate. Weigh your potential monthly fees versus transaction fees to be sure the plan you select will truly be the lowest cost for you. Also be sure to read the fine print and ask about any other hidden fees such as statement fees, cancellation fees, chargeback fees, etc.
  • Is the app from a proven, trusted payments solution provider?    No newbies need apply – find how long the company has been in business? Do they specialize in small businesses?  Can you talk to references? Switching merchant accounts isn’t fun, so go with a secure choice that’s proven at providing payments and plans to continue to invest in its mobile payment solutions.

Happy shopping!