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How to accept mobile credit card payments

Mobile credit card processing is becoming increasingly widespread, with mobile point of sale (mPOS) technology already on the rise. If you’re interested in learning how to accept mobile credit card payments for small business, we’ve got you covered. Find out everything you need to know to accept card payments on a phone, right here.

What is mPOS?

Before learning how to accept credit card payments on your mobile phone, it’s important to understand a little more about mobile point of sale systems. Essentially, mPOS refers to a mobile device, tablet, or smartphone that simultaneously functions as a cash register or traditional POS terminal. Traditional POS devices need to be in a fixed position, but mPOS devices can be used when you’re on the move. This is particularly beneficial for businesses that take payments on the go, like taxi drivers, but it also provides you with the ability to take payments from your customers in a way that they may feel more familiar with, providing a better customer experience.

So, how does this all work? It’s pretty simple. Essentially, there are devices (referred to as mobile credit card readers) that merchants can plug into their phones, giving them the ability to accept a card payment. These devices come in several forms, including credit card swipers (accepts magnetic stripe payments), EMV card readers (colloquially referred to as chip card readers), and NFC card readers (accepts contactless payments). Merchants can get access to a mobile card reader by signing up with a payments processor like PayPal or Square.  

What’s the benefit of accepting card payments on the phone?

Mobile POS systems can be beneficial for companies in a broad range of industries. Whether you’re operating a food truck, a restaurant, a retail outlet, or a mobile business (think lawn care, plumbing, personal trainer, web designer, hair stylist, etc.), the convenience of taking payment via a mobile phone is well worth the investment. You should also note that mobile POS usually offer digital receipts, which customers may appreciate due to the lack of clutter and added convenience.

Even if your business usually processes card payments through a stationary system, it’s important to consider the potential benefits of a mobile POS system, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing measures are now far more widespread, which can make accepting card payments on a phone extremely beneficial (for example, some retailers have taken to having customers place orders at the door or at a walk-up window).

How to accept credit card payments on your mobile phone

Generally speaking, learning how to accept mobile credit card payments is pretty simple. Here’s the basic method you should follow to accept card payments on a phone:

  1. Open your mobile POS app on your device.

  2. Ensure you’ve got a good connection for the card reader, which needs to be synched to your device to complete the transaction. It may be possible to accept card payments in “offline mode”, but to avoid running into problems, it’s better to ensure you have a solid connection

  3. Swipe, tap, or dip the customer’s card or device. At this point, your device will capture your customer’s payment information and process the transaction.

  4. Then, the customer may choose to tip or opt in/out of receiving a digital receipt.

  5. Finally, the transaction is complete.

Choosing the right mobile credit card reader

If you want to accept card payments on the phone, you’ll need to select the right card reader. When you’re choosing between different providers, pay attention to fees and payment processing minimums, particularly if you’re a new start-up and aren’t likely to process significant volumes, at least initially.

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GoCardless helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of admin your team needs to deal with when chasing invoices. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

GoCardless is used by over 60,000 businesses around the world. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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