A Step by Step Guide to Mobile Credit Card Processing

a phone processing cards

What’s faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive? A mobile app for credit card processing, that’s what! Oh, and Superman, but he won’t help you accept payments.

What is a Credit Card Processing App?

A credit card processing application is like any other app you download on your mobile device (except it’s going to be the one that helps you get paid!). A payments app can work in a couple of different ways: you can either leverage it with your current payments setup or use it independently. Confused? Read on.

Ideally, a credit card app should be your go-to spot for taking payments, keeping track of purchases, as well as outstanding orders and inventory. It can work in tandem with a card reader or used completely on its own (just enter a customer’s credit card info and process a payment). We outline how these types of apps work for you more clearly in the lines below, and have even included a step-by-step guide on how to take your first payment with an app. But first, let’s talk about what you should be looking for in a credit card app.

Why do I need a Credit Card Processing App?

The right payments app is going to be your best friend when it comes to accepting credit card payments. And if you’re thinking “I already have a countertop setup that my customers love, why should I bother?” then you need to keep reading to see why the benefits of using a credit card app far outweigh the cons. (Hint: there are none!)

“The right payments app is going to be your best friend when it comes to accepting credit card payments.”

The most obvious thing when it comes to a mobile app is the mobile part right? So if you’re ever on the go, let’s talk about some instances where you might want to take your payments with you:

    -You’re running a food truck

    -Meeting a client for coffee to follow up on a service

    -Taking payments at events

    -Soliciting donations

    -Visiting your customers in their home

Now even if you thought you didn’t need an app for your payments, there are plenty of situations where your business could potentially benefit from the added flexibility of mobile payments. So let us tell you a bit more about these money maximizing tools and where you can get one.

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The Best Credit Card Processing App

There are hundreds of apps you can use to accept credit cards…so how do you pick one? The best app for you will be determined by your business’s needs and what payment system you are currently using—remember, when you sign up to use a payment processing app, you’re also signing up with that payment processor, and you’ll want to know something about who you’re going into business with.

“Remember, when you sign up to use a payment processing app, you’re also signing up with that payment processor, and you’ll want to know something about who you’re going into business with.”

We’ve made a list of 6 things we think you should look for in an app before committing to one (relationships are hard).

1) Virtual Terminal Functionality

One thing to be aware of is that not all payment processors have an app that actually lets you process payments. Some merchant provider apps are only meant to be used in tandem with a card reader, or alternately, are used for merchants to track their earnings and inventory. The functionality embedded in the app (whether it is explicitly stated or not) that allows you to take a payment is called a virtual terminal

Too Long Didn’t Read: make sure the app you download lets you key-in transactions without the use of any other software or hardware!

2) Mobile Device Compatibility

If you’re going to be doling out mini donuts on the weekend or plunging someone’s pipes on the regular, you need your device to work with you to accept payments. What you don’t want to worry about when you’re researching what processor you should work with is if their app is compatible only with Apple or only Android. Get one that can do both.

3) Unlimited Users and Devices

As a business owner, you’ve got bigger responsibilities than just being “the guy” that can log someone else into the payments app. You definitely don’t want to have limits on who can use your app within your organization, or when they can use it. Ideally, you’ll want to find a cloud-based platform so that you can access your payments from any device at any time, and not have to worry about getting kicked off if a colleague is logged in at the same time.

The pro tip here is to make sure your payments provider gives you the freedom to share access with multiple users, so that anyone who may need to accept a payment from a customer can.

4) Send Receipts

One of the best things about the digital shift in payments technology is that it yields far fewer paper receipts. That means as a business owner, you save money on pesky paper rolls and get to save a few trees.

Once a credit card is approved, having the ability to email your customers their receipt is a convenient (and green!) way to give your customers a record of their purchase. Many customers will still want a transaction record, and a more permanent, electronic receipt can help build trust between them and your business. Win win!

5) Data Synchronization

If you’re using a mobile Point-of-Sale (POS) through a mobile payment processing app, it’s important that the credit card processor you select is able to synchronize data across their entire platform. Sometimes, processors will integrate 3rd party solutions for parts of their platform, and it’s important to understand if these tools talk to each other. Data synchronization will help simplify your record keeping and ensure that you always have access to the most up-to-date information, no matter which device you’re using.

6) Easy to use Card Reader

While a mobile payments app allows you to key-in transactions manually, integrating a mobile card reader with your setup can often provide the best solution for card-present payments in a mobile environment. True, you can key-in transactions (which is just a fancy way of saying the credit card information is punched in by you) if you’re working on a shoestring budget, but you’ll also pay slightly more in processing fees compared with using a card reader.

A card reader can be a great way to upgrade your customers’ payment experience, allowing them to benefit from the contactless (NFC) technology built-in to their credit card. A card reader will also let customers pay with their mobile devices using Apple Pay or Android Pay (does anyone even carry their cards around anymore?). If your business wants to provide customers with a great payment experience, a sleek looking card reader can elevate the profile of your business.All you need is a tablet or a smartphone to begin accepting mobile payments from customers. 

How to Get Started:

1) Sign up with a processor and download a POS application

Yep, step one is easy, just sign up with a processor that fits your needs and download their app (P.S. the payment processor that fits your needs might just be the one with the best app—especially if you don’t need anything else.)

2) Connect a Card Reader (Don’t have a card reader? Skip to Step 3b)

A mobile card reader lets your business accept in-person credit card transactions easily. You simply sync the card reader with your device, then use the app to accept payments. The card reader will encrypt any credit card data, so customers can be confident that their personal information is being protected. Accepting cards in person with a card reader is still the most secure way to accept payments. 

3) Enter the transaction

  1. To process a transaction, enter the amount of the sale and then give the card reader to your customer to complete their purchase. The transaction will be processed in real time using your 3G, LTE, or WiFi network and you’ll know immediately if the transaction was approved or not.
  2. Yes, you can accept credit cards just using your phone. All you need to do is open your application to enter the transaction amount and your customer’s information (including credit card number, expiry, and CVV) . You’ll know right away if the transaction was approved or not.

4) Send off a receipt

Providing customers with a receipt is lickety-split when you’re using a mobile POS and credit card processing app. Just enter the customer’s email and thanks to the power of the internet, you can send them a permanent record of their purchase with a single click.

Tips & Tricks to Using a Credit Card Processing App

There are a couple things you might not have thought of when it comes to taking your credit card app on the road with you that we thought might also be helpful:

Charging: when you’re on-the-go taking payments, you’re simultaneously draining your battery. So make sure if you’re using your tablet or phone to do the heavy lifting, you have some way to keep those batteries full—that way you can take payments all day long!

Connectivity: once you’ve downloaded your app and you’re ready to meet your customers where they are, take a second to double check everything is connecting properly. This is especially important when you’re using a card reader. Remember, you can pair a card reader via bluetooth to your phone, but that’s also going to drain your battery faster, so keep an eye on it!

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Final Thoughts

In 2021, it’s easier than ever to go mobile. Using an app to accept payments for your business is affordable and easy to use, you just need to find the one that works for you. So start taking payments with a mobile credit card processing app and open up a whole new way to serve your customers and get paid.

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