How Small Businesses Can Benefit From Using Mobile Card Readers

Written by Karen Bryan

If you are a small business owner, you could benefit from accepting payments through a mobile card reader. This allows you to accept card payments in any location.

A retailer such as supermarket can used fixed location card readers, as the customer is physically in the supermarket picking up purchases and then going through the check out process.

In a restaurant, the mobile card reader brought to your table, needs to be physically close to the base unit to process the transaction.

A fully mobile card reader, can be used anywhere that you can connect to WiFi or a mobile broadband signal on your phone or tablet. This is very useful for businesses which don’t operate from a fixed physical location, but have face-to-face contact with customers e.g a food vendor selling at various markets or a tradesperson working in customers’ homes.

If a small business only accepts cash or cheques, it can be frustrating for customers, who have to go to a cash machine to withdraw the cash. Personally, I don’t like making a large cash withdrawal in case I am spotted with the cash.

There is also a security risk for the seller in carrying around cash. Then there is the hassle of regularly having to go into a bank to deposit the cash.

Many customers don’t even have cheque books anymore. Even if they do, the seller will still have to deposit the cheque in their bank account and wait several days for the cheque to clear.

EMV technology has made card transactions much more secure than in the past when card payment was made by swiping the magnetic strip on the card in a machine and the customer signing for the transaction.

I was curious as to what EMV stood for, I assumed that the E would be for electronic and the V for verification. It turns out that EMV stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa, the three companies that developed using a chip in the card as opposed to the magnetic strip. A chip is makes it much harder to clone or hack the card. In addition to this, the customer either has to enter their (Personal Identification Number) or sign for the transaction.

In the past, many banks charged businesses high fees for accepting card payments. Now there are firms such as SumUp which offer lower fees. SumUp charge £59 plus VAT for their mobile card reader and 1.69% of the value of each transaction.

A business owner just needs to download the SumUp app to their mobile phone or tablet. To process the  payment, the seller enters the value of the transaction into the app. If the purchase is for up to £30, the customer can use contactless, where they tap their card on the machine.

If the purchase value is above £30, the customer inserts their debit or credit card into the mobile card reader and then enters their PIN.

The card reader connects to the seller’s mobile phone or tablet by bluetooth, enabling the transaction to be verified. A receipt can then be emailed or sent by text to the customer.

Sellers can integrate their mobile card reader with Microsoft Excel making it easier to keep financial records and prepare annual accounts.

If I were running a business in which I had face-to-face contact with my customers, I’d seriously considering getting a mobile card reader. I think that it offers convenience and security to both the customer and the seller. Plus, the fees charged to the seller are a lot lower than the fees which I am currently paying when advertisers pay me by PayPal.