How Can Mobile Payment Acceptance Help Small Businesses?

With so many small businesses across the country now looking for new ways to streamline their operations and expand, many are now turning to new technology that allows them to accept credit card payments anywhere they can get cellphone service.

One of the biggest problems many small businesses nationwide now have is that it's not always easy to maintain a steady cash flow, but the ability to accept credit card payments using mobile devices has been shown to help in this area, according to a report from USA Today. With fewer independently owned companies actually relying on their brick-and-mortar storefronts (if they even have them) to conduct everyday business, this move toward new payment acceptance technology is likely just par for the course.

There is now a large and growing number of mobile credit card processing services that allow companies to accept payments through their smartphones or tablet PCs, and these can be especially helpful for those companies that go to their clients' homes or places of business to do their work, such as plumbers, electricians, painters, and the like, the report said. With many of these services, all a business owner has to do is go to their websites and determine which one will be best for them – as each tend to have their own costs and tiers of service – and sign up. They will then be sent a mobile credit card reading device that plugs directly into their handset, and works with an accompanying app that can be downloaded free of charge and with ease. That's often all small business owners need to do to become capable of accepting mobile purchases.

"Our recent growth is fueled by brick and mortar merchants who are tearing out old POS (point-of-sale) systems and running their business through Square," Aaron Zamost, a spokesman for mobile payment processor Square, told the newspaper. "Square offers merchants an easy way to manage and grow their business. Everything you need comes with the application. It also works with a cash drawer and printer."

What does it cost?
As with any such service that significantly increases flexibility for small businesses, these mobile payment systems do not come free of charge, the report said. In many cases, the amount businesses pay for processing transactions depends on how much money they accept over the course of a month or year through such a program. In general, though, fees can range from a few cents plus about 2.7 or 2.75 percent of the total purchase price for transactions that involve swiping a card, and between 3.5 and 3.75 percent of unswiped transactions. In many cases, companies that sign up for one tier of service and exceed that might face additional fees for doing so, and it is therefore wise to make sure to stay on top of how these services are being used, and the amount of business coming in.

Recent studies have shown that the vast majority of small businesses across the country now rely on smartphones and tablets in general in the course of their day-to-day operations and many say that without these mobile devices they might not be able to run their companies at all. As a consequence, it should be little wonder that these services, which help to keep money coming in and allow participants to focus on other things besides chasing late payments, can be a boon for cash flow. Having additional money coming in can also be helpful when trying to afford small business insurance needs, as the costs for these policies can often be burdensome, and may only grow  in the coming years as companies expand.