Bank of America Mobile Pay
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- Date Established
- Charlotte, NC
[Note: This review is for the standalone, pay-as-you-go mobile processing service offered by Bank of America. If you plan to use the Mobile Pay app with a full Bank of America merchant account, see my review for Bank of America Merchant Services for more information.]
As the mobile processing boom continues to expand, potentially luring customers away from traditional merchant account providers, just about every merchant service company out there has scrambled to release a viable app and card reader combo to protect their interests and get a piece of the mobile pie. While many of these solutions are low-budget and half-hearted efforts from small companies, we have to take note when an institution as big as Bank of America puts their name on standalone mobile processing service.
I’ve already reviewed Bank of America Merchant Services (BAMS) in-depth, so feel free to check out that review for more information. I was left feeling ambivalent toward them, especially because of questionable sales tactics and less-than-stellar contract terms. If you’re signing up for the BAMS Mobile Pay on Demand (aka Mobile Pay) service without a merchant account, however, those complaints won’t carry over. You won’t have to enter into a standard merchant agreement or deal with shady sales practices, since the mobile service is very standardized and streamlined.
This app was completely redesigned in the fall of 2013. While both versions of the app are available for download, new users are encouraged to use the most current software. Be careful, though, since the first search result you see will likely be the old version, leading to some confusion among users.
I generally speaking like this app and the service. The lack of complaints about account terminations and withheld funds make me feel good about BofA’s boarding process for mobile-only clients. The app still needs a little work, though, especially for Android users. Many Android users complain about having to constantly sign back in and about general bugginess as well as crashes. For now I’m giving Mobile Pay 3.5 stars, but they could easily hit the 4-star mark in the near future if they can iron out the app. I’ll look forward to updating this with good news.
Check out the full review for more information, or take a look at our mobile payments comparison chart to see some of my favorite providers. If you have experience with Bank of America Mobile Pay, please leave a comment with your thoughts!
Table of Contents
App and Service Features:
First and foremost, make sure you don’t download the old version of this app. Both the old and new ones are currently offered in the app marketplaces. The old one is offered through Apriva, though, so that will tip you off. (New one for iOS. New one for Android.)
I like that they let you demo the app without signing up for it. Not all providers do. Here’s a list of features Mobile Pay offers:
- Free card reader: The card reader itself is kind of bulky, though undeniably stable. While the PayPal Here swiper has that one wing to prevent spinning, the Mobile Pay reader essentially clamps on to your phone. It comes with a holder that you can put on a key ring. Kind of weird looking, but it seems to get the job done.
- Online reporting: Offered via First Data’s Business Track. It’s a fairly ordinary but overall useful system for basic tracking and management.
- Next-day funding to Bank of America business account: Not all user will qualify for next-day or two-day funding. You have to apply to find out what you’re standard funding time will be.
- Tips: To be expected in a mobile app. You can also enable “smart tips” so customers can tip in whole dollar amounts for purchases below $10.
- In-app sales history and reports: This will let you see sales for custom date ranges as well as view specific batches or transactions.
- Invoice numbers: If you toggle this option on, you get an invoice number attached to each sale.
- Inventory system: It’s pretty basic. You can add items with pictures, descriptions and prices attached, as well as barcodes where applicable. Each item can be deemed taxable or not. It’s a streamlined process to add photos directly from the camera or from an album. You can’t actually manage your inventory with this app, though (no quantity option).
- Barcode scanning: I like that this uses the phone’s camera instead of an actual scanner. Unfortunately, the feature was kind of glitchy when I tested it. It worked at first, but then wouldn’t recognize barcodes when I tried to create orders. So make sure you test this out for yourself.
- Print paper receipts: I know that this works through the Apple AirPrint system. I’m not sure if this capability is available to Android devices.
The Bank of America Mobile Pay app is available for smartphones and tablets, with similar levels of functionality for both. To run the app, you need to meet the following operating system specifications:
- iOS devices must run on iOS 6.0 or higher
- For Android devices must on 2.3 or higher
Bank of America says that the app will not work with beta software versions or jail broken/rooted for either Apple and Android devices, but some reviewers have claimed to use the device with a jail broken iPhone.
For Apple devices, BofA supports the following devices:
- iPhone 3GS
- iPhone 4
- iPhone 4s
- iPhone 5
- iPhone 5s
- iPhone 5c
- All iPad models (including iPad mini)
- iPod touch (third generation and higher)
While most Android devices running 2.3 or higher will likely work, BofA officially lists the following devices as compatible:
- Samsung Galaxy Nexus
- Samsung Galaxy S2
- Samsung Galaxy S3
- LG Enlighten
- HTC Incredible 2
- Droid 3
Fees and Rates:
BofA Mobile Pay charges almost the exact same rates as Square. They don’t have any hidden fees or tiers to worry about, just two flat rates.
- 2.70% for swiped transactions (0.05% less than Square)
- 3.50% + $0.15 for keyed transactions
Of course, American Express rates will differ, ranging from 2.30% – 3.50% + $0.00 – $0.15.
Aside for that, you’ll only have to worry about chargeback fees of $15. I haven’t heard of any other fees whatsoever.
Contract Length and Early Termination Fee:
No early termination fee is included with the standalone service. If you use Mobile Pay in conjunction with a Bank of America merchant account, then you will likely have a three-year contract with about $500 in early termination fees. I would recommend negotiating this fee out of your merchant agreement if you choose to use a BAMS merchant account.
Sales and Advertising Transparency:
The primary BofA Mobile Pay advertising discloses all of the most pertinent information for users. They don’t discuss touchy subject like chargebacks, transaction limits, holds and so on. Ideally I’d like to see these topics discussed up front so merchants won’t be surprised later on. Some if this information is available in the FAQ, and all of it will be in Terms and Conditions you’ll have to accept to use the service. So, you know – read your Merchant Agreement! They are legally binding.
Customer Service and Technical Support:
On the iTunes App Store page for the Mobile Pay app, the company advertises “live 24/7, United States based customer support,” although account-specific support seems to be less available than general app related customer service.
For first line self-service support, users can use a small FAQ to tackle frequently encountered issues. If your question is not among the most frequently asked, they suggest you use the email support, or live chat if it’s currently available.
Since I haven’t heard much from actual users of this service yet, I can’t say with certainty how well they handle complex or account-specific issues. If you have experience using the BofA MS customer service, please leave your thought in our comments section. Thank you!
Negative Reviews and Complaints:
First, I should mention that I didn’t find a single complaint against BofA Mobile Pay about account terminations or withheld funds. Considering this is usually the number one complaint with mobile payment services, I’m really impressed by this.
The reviews for the Bank of America Mobile Pay app, on the other hand, are lukewarm. A few users have major complaints about persistent bugs, but overall the app appears to do what the company promises. The following represents a collection of what I consider the most noteworthy complaints:
- Won’t leave you logged in for Android, although it will in iOS:
“For the android system it makes you log in every time you use it.” –Google user
- Can’t customize receipts:
“With other devices I was able to insert a brief thank you message on the receipt along with my logo.” –iTunes user
- Customers have to sign even for small transactions:
“Give me an auto log in feature and no sign for under 25 bucks.” –Google user
- No quantity options for inventory management tool:
“I would like to have a choose quantity option on inventory when checking out and a percentage option for discounts.” –Google user
- Have to toggle back and forth to add multiples of an item:
“Doesn’t allow you to add multiples of an item without having to go back in multiple times.” –iTunes user
Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
Not many users have gone so far as to provide thoughtful testimonials for the Bank of America service and app, but the majority of reviews on iTunes and Google Play are favorable or neutral – for the new app, anyway. But most of the positive remarks come alongside suggestions for improvement. In fact most of the “complaints” I list above are actually taken from overall positive reviews.
This tells me that the service needs to improve, but it’s on the right track. If you have experience with the BofA Mobile Pay services, please leave me your thoughts in a comment. Positive or negative, I’d love to hear what you have to say.
This is a pretty good app and processing service combo. It doesn’t offers many advantages services like PayPal Here, Flint or Square, but I love that they seem to avoid overzealous account freezes or termination – problems that seem to plague the mobile payments industry at the moment. Beyond the good-quality app offered by Bank of America, users also benefit from next-day deposits if they have Mobile Pay linked to their BofA small business checking account. But if quick access to cash is all you’re after, consider that PayPal Here gives you same-day access to your funds via your PayPal Debit card.
The Mobile Pay app is heading in the right direction with a much-improved user interface and unique features like their camera-based barcode scanner. But I’d really like to see better functionality overall, especially for Android users. I’m giving Bank of America Mobile Pay a cool 3.5 stars for the moment, but with a few tweaks they could make the 4-star mark soon. Check back for updates!
Take a look at our mobile payments comparison chart to see some of the best mobile payments providers out there. And if you have experience with Bank of America Mobile Pay, please leave a comment with your thoughts!