Taking payments used to be a tricky business for small businesses.
Taking cash is all very well but, these days, customers expect businesses to take a debit or credit card, especially for larger purchases and that means that taking payments is a good way to actually make money out of that money making idea.
Lucky, then, that a new generation of apps are emerging which allow individuals to take credit card payments quickly and easily. Here are three of the best.
In America, where personal and business credit cards are most often swiped, Square has allowed thousands of iPhone users to do just that quickly and easily.
The little white Square device just plugs into the iPhone’s charging dock allowing merchants to take payment by swiping the card and going through the software’s secure payments process.
Now iZettle is planning to do the same thing in Europe where Chip and PIN rules. The company are starting off in Sweden and aim to grow throughout the rest of Europe in 2011 and 2012.
The last we heard, they’re coming to the UK later this year.
The principle is exactly the same as Square: merchants use a device attached to the phone to read the physical card and then go through the payments process. Then, just like Square, the payments company charges 2.75% of the transaction, plus some fees, for using the application.
2. Paypal Here
Just likeiZettle, Paypal Here are also planning to bring the Square concept to the UK.
Just like iZettle the hardware still plugs into the top of a smartphone but Paypal’s version is a smaller triangle design.
The service will launch in the US, Canada, Australia and Hong Kong in the next month and roll out worldwide soon after.
Finally, there’s the bouncily-namedBoku.
The app has a simple aim: to turn a phone bill into a credit card bill.
When customers want to make a mobile payment they give their mobile phone number to the merchant rather than their credit card. The merchant enters it into Boku which sends a text asking the customer to confirm that the price of the purchase will be added to their phone bill.
Unlike the other two it doesn’t ‘feel’ like taking a payment in a shop somehow. But we think that makes it even cooler.