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So You Want To Accept Credit Card Payments On Your Phone

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accept mobile credit card payments

I can hardly believe it’s been more than half a decade (and approaching a full decade) since I started feeling inundated with comments about how mobile is the future of everything. And I do mean everything. However, there is one area where that is absolutely, 100% true: credit card processing and point of sale (POS) systems. A Juniper Research study predicts that by 2023, mPOS (that is, mobile POS) systems will be responsible for almost a quarter of all POS transactions globally. That will be an estimated 87 BILLION transactions annually. The US and Canada are currently leaders in mobile POS/mPOS technology like Square Payments, and it’s not going to go away any time soon, but plenty of other countries around the world will experience the same sort of surge in popularity as technology becomes more widespread and more affordable.

So you want to be part of the action, and start accepting payments on your smartphone. Or your tablet. Or maybe even both! What next? Where do you start and how do you make a decision as to which software/payment processor to choose? As Merchant Maverick’s specialist for mPOS software, I’m here to help you figure out if mobile processing is right for you (spoiler alert, there’s a really good chance an mPOS could be a great choice for you) and help you make sense of which features are the most important.

We’re not including iPad POS systems here, in part because they don’t work on smartphones, and also because they tend to be more designed for countertop register setups than for mobile use. If that’s what you’re looking for, we recommend checking out our iPad POS review category.

If you want a highly flexible POS that will run on a smartphone, read on! We’ll talk about software features as well as mobile credit card readers and what’s important to have. And then we’ll talk about some of the best mPOS options available in the US at the moment.

See why Square is our #1 pick for iOS and Android smartphone credit card processing

ReadereCommerceRetailFood Service
Free App & ReaderSquare eCommerceSquare for RetailSquare for Restaurants
Get StartedGet StartedGet StartedGet Started
Free, general-purpose POS software and reader for iOS and AndroidEasy integration with popular platforms plus API for customizationSpecialized software for more complex retail storesSpecialized software for full-service restaurants
$0/month$0/month$60/month$60/month
Always FreeAlways FreeFree TrialFree Trial

Who Needs Mobile Payment Processing?

You probably have a specific image in your head of who uses mobile processing apps and mobile card readers. And you’re probably right — but whoever you’re thinking of, they’re not the only ones who rely on that technology. Here are some of the industries where mobile POS systems are popular, if not absolutely essential:

Arts & Crafts Vendors

Do you sell your wares at conventions, art shows, and other pop-up events? You could be an author, an artist, a quilter or a seamstress, a jewelry maker, or even a makeup reseller (just to name a few). If you rely on periodic events throughout the area rather than a storefront to sell your wares, a mobile POS system designed for low-volume businesses with no monthly fee (or a very small one) is ideal for your business.

Food Service

Having a small POS system is a must in the cramped quarters of a food truck, but they’re far from the only food-related businesses that rely on smartphones and tablets. Even established restaurants have adopted them. A handheld device with the entire menu loaded on it can make taking orders more reliable, especially if, for example, the POS prompts you to input preferences for sides and toppings rather than assuming the default. Even casual restaurants where you might place an order at the counter are using mobile devices, with roaming servers who can stop by a table and place additional orders rather than requiring them to get up and go back to the counter.  Some restaurant-focused mobile POS systems now have a feature that let tablets function as self-service kiosks where customers can place their orders and pay their checks at the table without a server present, too.

And of course, there’s another big advantage to having mobile card readers: the ability to process credit cards right at the table. No more needing to walk away with a customer’s card when the server can simply swipe it at the table and hand it back.

Service/Mobile Businesses

If you don’t have a brick-and-mortar office or base of operation where customers visit you, having a mobile app and credit card reader is absolutely essential. Being able to accept payment on site means you get paid faster than if you were to wait on an invoice or check, and it gives you a more professional image as well as greater credibility. For some businesses, such as freelancers, it might even decrease your rate of non-paying customers. (It sucks but it does happen, no sense in pretending otherwise.) Just some of the service businesses that could benefit from being able to accept payment via smartphone or tablet include carpet cleaners, plumbers, lawn care, mobile dog groomers, exterminators, personal trainers, hair stylists and makeup artists, web designers, and many more.

Retailers

Even businesses that do have a brick-and-mortar shop are finding an advantage in using mPOS systems with mobile card readers. In many cases, a smartphone or tablet with a card reader can be used for line busting, or even allowing customers to complete their purchase right on the sales floor rather than having to find a register.

Understanding The Cost To Accept Credit Card Payments

Businesses have two ways to accept credit card payments: applying for a merchant account or signing up with a third-party processor (also called an aggregator). Generally speaking, merchant accounts are highly stable and not prone to sudden holds or account terminations. The trade-off is that they can take a bit of time to set up, may require negotiation, and often want to see proof of an established business, ideally with a monthly processing volume upwards of $5,000/month (but ideally $10,000 or more). A third-party processor, or aggregator, works by setting up one giant merchant account in the company’s name and signing up all merchants as sub-users of its merchant account. The vetting process is less intense than with a merchant account, usually only requiring you to verify your own identity, and you can be approved and set up to process payments in under a day. Typically you don’t need to have any sort of processing history or meet a minimum threshold. However, in exchange for that convenience you do face a risk of account holds or terminations. Third-party processors rely on computers to analyze and flag suspicious transactions, which can put a damper on your cash flow if something seems out of the ordinary. Learn to protect your business with our article on how to avoid holds, freezes, and terminations.

Merchant accounts offer a few different pricing models, not all of which are good. Ideally, you should seek out a merchant account that offers either interchange-plus or subscription-based pricing. Many third-party processors rely on flat-rate pricing instead — so rather than pay interchange fees plus a markup or monthly fee, you would pay the same price instead of interchange fees, which vary by the card and type of transaction. This kind of flat-rate pricing is a game of numbers: in some cases you pay more than you would with a merchant account, in others you pay less, and your payment processor averages the difference and that’s where its profit comes from. However, one of the biggest advantages is predictable pricing — you know exactly how much you’re going to pay each month based on your volume. With interchange-plus or subscription-based pricing, doing the math can be a little bit more complicated. You can still easily understand what you’re paying, but estimating it may be more of a challenge.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what kind of processor you want to work with. You can find great mobile apps and card readers either way.

Internet Availability

If you want to be able to process credit card payments, reliable internet is a must-have. Mobile POS apps can work on WiFi or cellular signal, so long as the smartphone or tablet is equipped for both. The tricky bit is making sure you have one or the other (or preferably both).

At convention centers with thousands of attendees and even in crowded downtown areas, cellular data can be spotty, as can public WiFi networks. Mobile businesses have to contend with signal availability wherever they roam, which includes the occasional random dead zone. And even brick-and-mortar businesses need to make sure their internet stays operational. In the case of mobile POS system, they need to make sure it reaches the entirety of their location. For restaurants, that could mean all the way out on the patio.

Event venues usually have internet available for vendors to purchase, but that can be a costly expense for low-volume merchants who typically only sell occasionally. But if that’s not available, the best backup is having a cellular provider with a strong presence in the area, which is also the best option for mobile businesses. Mobile hotspots allow you to create a personal WiFi signal that will travel with you to overcome the challenges of dead zones, fortunately. And for storefront businesses, choosing a reputable internet provider and making sure that routers and extenders are in place to broadcast the signal.

Obviously, all of this comes with a cost, which you should factor into your selection process for your internet provider as well as which mobile devices and mobile app you choose.

Hardware Compatibility

Hardware is always one of the most expensive aspects of choosing a POS system, and that’s not any different when you’re looking to go mobile. Smartphones and tablets are just one part of the equation, albeit a big one. First, you need to check whether the app you want to use is an iOS exclusive or available on both iOS and Android, and then from there you can narrow down which sort of devices are available and which ones fit your budget.

And then there’s the card readers themselves. For the most part, mobile card readers are meant to be universal. The only exceptions to this are ones that rely on a Lightning connection for iOS devices, and iPhone 7 or newer models, which lack a 3.5mm headphone jack. You can get 3.5mm-to-Lightning adapters for the latter, but an easier option is to choose a Bluetooth-enabled reader instead. It will cost you more than a basic headphone jack reader, but you won’t have to worry about checking compatibility because every relatively new device supports a recent version of Bluetooth.

Also, some mPOS systems work as countertop setups that support a receipt printer and a printer-driven cash drawer. Some even support barcode scanners — and of course there’s the tablet stands and even charging docks for the card readers. A hardware bundle with a receipt printer, cash drawer, and tablet stand can easily run $500 or more depending on what else is included.

Some mobile processors offer some sort of tool to check whether a device is compatible. Square has an interactive web page, but others may be as simple as a list somewhere in the self-help resources.

Taxes & Tips

Unless you live in one of the five U.S. states that don’t charge sales tax, you are almost always responsible for paying sales tax for your business on each transaction, which is usually anywhere between 6-10%. Some states also assess local sales taxes on top of the base rates. Between the credit card processing fees and sales tax, that’s anywhere between 8-13% of your revenue already claimed.

Just about every mobile credit card swiper will let you add sales tax to the base purchase without requiring you to calculate it, which is handy if you’re not fond of math or just want the transaction to go more quickly. The more advanced mobile apps have flexible tax settings so you can choose to apply multiple taxes or choose from a pre-set list of taxes, or even disable sales tax entirely if you’re dealing with a tax exempt transaction. This is ideal for mobile businesses who might find themselves in different cities, or even different states. (I live in the Kansas City suburbs, and if you’re not from the area you might be surprised to learn that most of the city itself is on the Missouri side. But it’s fairly common to cross the state line in either direction for events or even just to go to a restaurant.)

Time To Get Your Money

The old adage says time is money. For businesses, deposit times are crucial for maintaining a solid cash flow. Waiting on a deposit can be frustrating, so an important question to ask is, how soon can a processor get your balance in your bank? That varies depending on the processor, but in 2018 there’s absolutely no reason you should wait more than 2 business days to have your money in your bank account. Some processors now offer next-day deposits, ensuring your funds from a given day are dropped in your account the morning of the next business day (functionally making the deposit time something like 12 hours). Square, a third-party processor, allows established merchants to move their funds to their bank account almost instantly, provided they pay a fee equal to 1% of the transfer volume.

Features To Look For In Your Mobile POS and Credit Card Reader

Features-wise, you can at least expect the basics to remain consistent across smartphone credit card swipers and mobile apps: you can swipe, dip, or tap cards, manually key them in, and issue receipts. Most apps have a quick sale mode as well as an inventory catalog. It’s the little things that will ultimately set one service provider apart from the rest.

Also, while these features are recommended, they’re by no means mandatory for all merchants. It’s more of a starter list to get you thinking about what you absolutely must have in a mobile processor.

Accounting Integrations

An accounting integration with QuickBooks or Xero makes it easy to automatically sync your sales data with your bookkeeping program. No need to manually import data. The data syncs automatically so you don’t have to take any additional steps. This also reduces the potential for errors since the human element is removed.

Invoicing

Invoicing lets you handle custom orders, itemized breakdowns of services, or provide documentation for large orders. With a built-in invoicing feature you can often send an invoicing feature directly from within the mobile app, so if a customer requests a custom item you can complete the transaction right then and there rather than waiting until you’re near a computer. It’s also worth pointing out that even if you don’t have native invoicing features within the app, some payment processors integrate with third-party services to offer this function.

Virtual Terminal 

A virtual terminal allows you to manually enter payment information via a web portal. It’s not the same as keying in a card number in the mobile POS app, mainly because virtual terminals are browser-based. Commonly, this feature allows merchants to accept payments over the phone, but it can also be used to take payments in an office environment where a terminal isn’t really feasible. Advanced virtual terminals can store payment data for later charges, but this is by no means universal. Also take note, you’ll pay higher processing rates to use the virtual terminal instead of swiping, dipping, or tapping in the mobile app.

Customer Database 

A customer database is one of those features that started in POS systems and is now trickling down into more mobile systems. You can save customers names, phone numbers and even addresses in your systems and associate that entry in your database with purchases, so you know who your most loyal customers are and what they buy. If you rely on invoicing a lot, most systems with both invoicing and a customer database are linked, too.

Inventory Management

The most basic mPOS apps have very limited inventory management. A quick-sale mode where you can put in an amount is common, but as far as an item library, a very basic app might offer the ability to create an item, include a photo, a price, and a description. More advanced inventory management includes barcodes and SKUs, inventory quantities, item variants, and add-ons or modifiers. Also keep an eye on the ability to offer variable pricing points, bulk uploads for your inventory, and flexible tax settings. Being able to run accurate, automated sales reports saves you time and prevents you from having to rely on possibly inaccurate impressions of what is selling well and what is not.

Permissions For Multiple Users

Do you have several employees? A friend who helps out when you’re working events? Multiple roaming service reps who handle different routes or territories? The ability to give permissions to multiple users comes in handy here. With it, you can enable employees (or a helpful booth assistant) to accept payments without giving them full access to your account. You can also use this feature to track sales by individual and other data. Some apps allow you to set custom permissions based on their role in the organization, so only select people can be authorized, for example, to handle returns.

Card Reader Design

We’ve talked a little already about the convenience of having a Bluetooth-enabled card reader, but it’s time to talk about other aspects of the card reader. A major concern is what payment types the mobile card reader supports. Even just a couple of years ago, everyone was offering a free 3.5mm card swiper, which only supported magstripe transactions. However, since the EMV liability shift, that’s becoming less common. More importantly, as a merchant you should absolutely choose a card reader that is capable of accepting chip cards to protect yourself on a very basic level.

The good news is you can find relatively inexpensive Bluetooth-enabled card readers that support both magstripe and chip card transactions. Some processors, such as Shopify are even offering them for free. If you really want to future-proof your card reader, you can look for one that also has NFC capabilities, allowing you to accept contactless payment options such as Apple Pay and Android Pay.

I could talk a lot more about card reader design, but I’ve already done that. Check out my post on the best credit card readers for small businesses if you want the full story.

The Major mPOS Apps & Mobile Card Readers For Small Businesses

Now that we’ve gone over what you need to know before you start even looking at taking credit card payments with your phone, let’s look at some of the biggest names in the business and the benefits and disadvantages to each. Every payment processor and every mPOS app has strengths and weaknesses.

Square

Square (read our review) sits at the top of almost every list of mobile POS apps/mobile processors for a reason: It offers predictable pricing for card payments, no monthly fees, no contacts, and a huge suite of free software that covers many aspects of your business. If you’re willing to pay a little more, you can add-on additional services such as loyalty and marketing to further extend that feature set. Square really blurs the line between an mPOS system and a full fledged iPad POS.

Square Point of Sale, as the free app is called, offers a powerful set of features:

  • Inventory management with quantity tracking
  • Multiple locations at no additional charge
  • Customer database
  • Flexible tax settings
  • Customizable employee permissions
  • eCommerce integrations and free basic web store
  • Free virtual terminal
  • Invoicing from in app and web dashboard

And that’s just to name a few. Plus, Square offers affordable EMV-enabled hardware with financing available for orders above $49. If you need more specialized features, Square also offers premium POS apps: Square for Retail (read our review) and Square for Restaurants, as well as Square Appointments (read our review) for teams who need a scheduling feature. Square’s add-on features also work seamlessly with these premium POS apps, as well.

ReadereCommerceRetailFood Service
Free App & ReaderSquare eCommerceSquare for RetailSquare for Restaurants
Get StartedGet StartedGet StartedGet Started
Free, general-purpose POS software and reader for iOS and AndroidEasy integration with popular platforms plus API for customizationSpecialized software for more complex retail storesSpecialized software for full-service restaurants
$0/month$0/month$60/month$60/month
Always FreeAlways FreeFree TrialFree Trial

Square Point of Sale Quick Stats

  • Works on iOS and Android devices
  • 2.75% per swiped/dipped/tapped transaction
  • No monthly fee
  • EMV card readers starting at $29
  • Includes invoicing and virtual terminal

Shopify Lite

Shopify started as just an eCommerce provider, but these days the company has a similar set of offerings as Square. But where Square’s focus is its free Point of Sale Shop, Shopify’s primary concern is still its ecommerce offering, to the point that Shopify POS is included at no addition charge with Shopify’s Basic plan and higher tiers.

However, if you’re not so much interested in selling online and just want a versatile mobile point of sale system, you can sign up for the Shopify Lite plan (read our review), for $9/month. With it, you get Shopify POS for Android and iOS, as well as the ability to sell your wares through a Facebook store. Shopify Lite does give you access to:

  • Advanced inventory management (including item counts and variants)
  • In-app and dashboard invoicing
  • Discounts
  • Customer database
  • Online order fulfillment in-app
  • Synchronization across sales channels

For payment processing, Shopify defaults to its own native solution, Shopify Payments. It’s a white-label Stripe product, which makes it a third-party processor akin to Square. Cards process at 2.7% per in-person transaction, and 2.9% + $0.30 for keyed and invoiced. There are no monthly minimums or any other fees.

The app works on iOS and Android, though unsurprisingly an iPad gets you access to the most features. Shopify even offers a free Bluetooth-enabled magstripe/chip card reader (retail price $29) for merchants. However, it’s also worth noting that you can’t connect a printer or cash drawer for a countertop POS setup without adding the Retail Package, a $49/month add-on. The retail package also includes support for barcode scanning and a few other advanced features. However, without the retail package the app can still send digital receipts so it may not be a major concern for all merchants.

MobilePOSOnlineSocial Media
Mobile App + Free Card ReaderPoint of SaleOnline StoreSocial Media Selling
Get StartedGet StartedGet StartedGet Started
Low-cost POS for iOS and Android with free hardwareAll-purpose POS integrated with all sales channelsBuild a store or integrate with your current websiteSell on Facebook and other platforms
Starts at $9/monthStarts at $29/monthStarts at $29/monthStarts at $9/month
Free TrialFree TrialFree TrialFree Trial

Shopify Lite Quick Stats

  • Works on iOS and Android devices
  • 2.7% per swiped/dipped/tapped transaction
  • $9 monthly fee
  • Free Bluetooth card reader
  • Includes invoicing

Payline Mobile

Payline Data’s mobile POS app is a bit of an anomaly in that it’s a low-volume option that also gives your business a proper merchant account. Generally speaking, you won’t find many processing solutions that tick both boxes — instead, you make trade-offs. Payline Mobile (read our review), combined with the Payline Start plan, gives you a fairly robust app with fair, predictable pricing.

The Payline Mobile app isn’t a custom build. It’s a skinned, white label ROAMpay app, meaning it’s the same app used by several other providers, but with Payline’s branding. That’s not a bad thing, either. You get a decent set of features, even if they’re not quite top-of-the-line. One notable missing feature is invoicing. However, the app does offer:

  • Item library that supports barcode scanning (no item counts or variants).
  • Customer database with notes.
  • Virtual terminal in the ROAMpay portal.
  • Discounts
  • Employee accounts

The Start plan costs $10/month, with transactions processing at interchange + 0.30% + $0.10. While Payline doesn’t have any monthly minimum processing requirements, you must process enough to generate $25 in processing fees, which for most merchants works out to be somewhere around the $1,000 mark. For hardware, Payline offers a basic magstripe reader as well as a Bluetooth-enabled device that supports magstripe, chip card, and contactless transactions.

Payline Mobile Quick Stats 

  • Works on iOS and Android devices
  • Interchange + 0.30% + $0.10 per swiped/dipped/tapped transaction
  • $25 monthly minimum, $10 monthly fee
  • All-in-one reader available
  • Free virtual terminal

Fattmerchant Mobile

Fattmerchant Mobile (read our review) offers the stability of a merchant account, but unlike Payline, it’s best suited for high-volume businesses and preferably those with a larger ticket size. Fattmerchant Mobile is an iOS-exclusive app, but it’s only one part of the Fattmerchant platform. It also includes shopping cart integrations, a virtual terminal, and POS integrations, and an API. All of your data syncs to the Fattmerchant dashboard where you can access all sorts of advanced reporting.

The app itself includes:

  • Customer database with notes
  • Item library with inventory counts (no add-ons or modifiers)
  • Scan and save card information
  • In-app and dashboard invoicing
  • Multiple user accounts

Fattmerchant uses a subscription-based pricing model where you pay a monthly fee and a per-transaction fee. For the mobile app, you’ll pay $99/month + interchange + $0.15. That monthly fee and the per-transaction markup mean that Fattmerchant is most cost-effective for businesses processing $10,000 or more per month. Businesses with small tickets, especially under about $15, will pay more with the $0.15 per transaction fee than they would with a percentage based fee. So the larger your average transaction size, the more you stand to save with Fattmerchant.

Fattmerchant Mobile Quick Stats

  • Works on iOS devices
  • Interchange + $0.15 per swiped/dipped/tapped transaction
  • $99 monthly fee
  • Bluetooth card reader
  • Includes invoicing

MX Merchant (Dharma Merchant Services)

MX Merchant (read our review) is similar in concept to Payline Mobile. The app (and the larger MX platform) is marketed to payment processors looking for a software solution. However, unlike ROAMpay, which targets processing companies specifically, MX Merchant is also marketed directly at consumers. It appears, from our research, that you would sign up with a company called Priority Payment Systems, which we haven’t reviewed. Rather than go this route, we recommend that you sign up with Dharma Merchant Services (read our review), which offers the MX platform as an all-in-one solution for its customers.

An iOS exclusive, MX Merchant has some familiar elements: an mPOS app, other payment-related capabilities. A web browser to unify everything. However, MX is the most modular system I’ve seen yet — it is very much pick-and-choose, rather than Square, which will let you pick which products you want to use but still serve everything else up along with it. Here we are focusing specifically on the MX Merchant Express app, which is the entry-level POS solution. But it’s worth noting the platform also offers MX Merchant Pro (an iPad POS), and MX Merchant Retail.

The Express app is, well, I’m not going to lie. It is the most basic mPOS app I’ve seen. (Please note: I’ve seen and used a LOT of them.) You won’t find an item library here at all, so that means none of the features associated with it. The app doesn’t even allow for cash recording, which means no automatic split tenders or calculating change. You will, however, at least get the following:

  • Custom tax settings
  • Custom tipping
  • Custom discounts
  • Web dashboard with virtual terminal
  • Customer database (web dashboard)

The web dashboard is capable of sending invoices, but the MX platform also offers a standalone invoicing app and an advanced reporting app. (Remember how I said this was modular?) There’s also a limited ecommerce capability, giving you an “all in one” platform, even if it’s a very basic one.

If you go through Dharma, you’ll pay interchange + 0.25% + $0.10 per transaction, plus a $10 monthly fee and $7.95/month PCI compliance fee.  You will pay no additional charges for access to MX Merchant Express. (However, the Insights app is an additional $10/month charge.) Generally speaking, Dharma’s pricing is ideal for merchants processing more than $10,000/month, but there is no monthly minimum.

The MX Merchant platform is somewhat flexible in its hardware, so you may see several options depending on your processor. With Dharma, you get the Walker C2X, which is EMV capable.

MX Merchant/Dharma Merchant Services Quick Stats 

MX Merchant Logo

  • Works on iOS devices
  • $10 monthly fee
  • Interchange + 0.25% + $0.10 swiped/dipped/tapped transaction
  • Chip card reader available
  • Very limited features

Final Thoughts

If yours is the kind of business where you’re frequently on the move, an mPOS and mobile card reader have some major benefits. For starters, if you can accept credit card payments on the spot, you’ll get paid a lot faster than waiting for a check or invoice. For small businesses that are just starting out and may not be pulling in large volumes, you can find providers who have no monthly fees and no payment processing minimums. But even large, established businesses doing a high volume can implement mobile POS systems that will scale with their business.

I say this a lot, but it’s important for you as a merchant to have an idea of what is most important to you. Are you looking for a stable merchant account, or do you want to get set up with a third-party processor quickly? While you often have to make a trade-off between account stability and a quick, no-fuss setup, that’s not always the case — but it may cost you more than you would pay with some other options.

Even after you’ve decided what kind of processor you want to go with, you need to look at the software they provide, too. What features do you need? What kind of credit card reader is available, and how much does it cost? These are questions that you’re best equipped to answer, so it’s important that you have a shortlist of features you must have and others you’d like to have, but may not be strictly necessary.

I hope I’ve helped shed some light on the topic and put you in a good place to get started! If you’re ready, check out our mobile processing comparison chart for even more great smartphone-friendly mPOS options.

Got questions on how to take credit card payments on your phone? Want to know more about how to accept mobile credit card payments? Let us know in the comments.

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Key FeaturesAll-In-One Solution, Upgrade PotentialFree Chip Reader, All-PurposeVersatile, Works With Many POS SystemsFree Chip Reader, Integrate Online SalesHigh-Volume, Large TicketAdvanced Features
Pricing ModelFlat RateFlat RateCost-PlusFlat RateCost-Plus (Subscription)Flat Rate
Entry-Level Monthly Fee$0$10$10$9$99$60+
Standard Retail Rates2.75% total2.60% + $0.10 total0.30% + $0.10 markup2.70% total0.00% + $0.25 markupVaries
Standard eCommerce Rates2.90% + $0.30 total3.20% + $0.10 total0.50% + $0.10 markup2.90% + $0.30 total0.00% + $0.25 markup

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Melissa Johnson

Melissa Johnson

Melissa Johnson has been writing about payment processing and mobile payments since 2014, and has been quoted in articles for Credit Karma and The Next Web, among others. She graduated from The University of Kansas in 2010 with bachelor's degrees in English and journalism.
Melissa Johnson

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5 Comments

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the vendor or bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the vendor or bank advertiser. It is not the vendor or bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

    Mike Negron

    I have been an avid user of Square for the past 7 years and have had nothing but great things to say about it. I was just looking around to see what else is out there. Someone mentioned to me a site where the customer pays the fees and all the merchant pays is like $20 month. I have yet to find the site to review it, but this to me sounds like a great opportunity… yet may be too good to be true …

      Chris Stinchfield

      Thank you, very informative. One question though, you mentioned PayPal in your article but did not include it in your comparison chart. Any reason why not? That is one of two that i’m considering. Thanks!

        Jessica Dinsmore

        Hi Chris,

        Our comparison charts are limited to our top 5 choices, and Paypal didn’t quite make the cut. It’s still a great choice for many businesses though!

          Peter Walker

          Question….
          How much “data” are we likely to use up on our mobile phone monthly if we process 100 credit card transactions per month? Is it significant? We have a small plan to start with (500mg /month) but do little else other than e-mail.

            Melissa Johnson

            Hi, Peter!

            That’s a good question. According to Square, the average card transaction is about 10kb of data, and logging into the app uses about 8kb of data. As far as I have read, that’s typical of any mPOS app. There’s additional data usage for things like sending receipts or failed transactions, but all of it is quite small when you consider that 1 megabyte = 1000 kilobytes.

            The list is available here: https://squareup.com/help/us/en/article/4963-data-plans-and-sms-policy

            Square also says you shouldn’t need more than a basic data plan. However, if you use email, that will also eat up data, and I can’t give you any idea of how much. And exact data usage rates will depend on which processor you choose (some may use more data than others). However, you shouldn’t have to worry about a mobile processing app eating up all your data, so long as you monitor your usage overall. You can also take advantage of wi-fi where it is available, which will cut down on your data usage.

            Hope that helps!

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