What Are the Best Small Business Mobile Payment Apps?

As customers move from purses and wallets to Apple watches and credit cards, mobile payment apps provide a convenient and affordable solution for the present day small business owner. A single app can (quite literally) place a solution at your fingertips, as your phone, iPad, or tablet transforms into a mobile processor within minutes. In this article, we will discuss what to expect from a mobile payment app and the ways it addresses your current issues, as well as popular apps and what they can bring to the table.

What Can a Mobile Payment App Accomplish?

Mobile payment apps allow business owners to take payments at any time and in any place. Easily downloaded, these apps let payments be completed with most devices, simplifying the process for both the merchant and the customer.

Here are some tools and accessories a business owner can expect a payment app to have.

  • An easily downloadable app – Most mobile payment apps can be downloaded onto most mobile devices for free; this includes iPads, iPhones, tablets, and most Android devices. This convenient function allows you to accept payments through your very own devices.
  • A point of sale system (POS system) – This feature documents the time and place where the transaction takes place. Regardless of physical or virtual purchases, this tool uses the data to process transactions and calculate the costs with sale taxes. Electronic point of sale can track sales data and automates the transaction process; this can be easily linked onto your own device for easy access to your small business’ data.
  • An accounting link- Linked with other apps, or as part of an all-in-one solution, an accounting aspect can help with managing bills, purchasing orders, and even paying your employees. Some even allow you to upload expense receipts straight into the app through photos taken on your mobile device.
  • Various payment options – Many mobile apps can accept card payments and mobile payments through added readers and mobile device functions.
    • Many mobile apps are compatible with small mobile card readers that can be attached onto a mobile device. These accept debit cards as well as most major credit card transactions (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, etc.). Credit card processing can be completed in a matter of just seconds. Depending on the app, you can also accept magstripe card swiping and chip card transactions, sometimes at extra cost.
    • Many mobile apps can take mobile credit card payments and contactless payments such as Apple Pay or Google Pay through near-field communication (NFC).
  • An online platform – You can create an online store to list and sell your goods or services, with automatic inventory management. These platforms create a type of website that lets customers make online payments. These websites can be linked to your business’s social media platforms for extra exposure.

Two other items to note, one positive and one downside.

Positive: Quick payment transfer. Depending on payment processing time, most apps allow you to see a payment transferred into your bank account in a couple business days (some even transfer instantly for an extra charge) for quick cash flow.

Downside: Added fees. The mobile payment apps that do not come with monthly fees, come with processing fees, in the form of transaction fees. Apps generally charge a small percentage of each purchase for their services, and some pair that with another charge of a couple cents per transaction. Some just charge a monthly service fee. However, apps tend to be low commitment and you can switch out if you feel it isn’t right for you.

Addressing Issues with a Mobile Payment App

Dealing with the logistics and calculations of payments can lead to a loss of time and money. With the help of mobile payment apps, you can address many issues directly on your mobile devices.

Much fine print and many fees come with credit card processing. Happily, early termination and set up fees, as well as reprogramming and statement fees, can be things of the past when you use mobile payment apps. Mobile payment apps act as a middleman, taking care of all of the logistics and policies. You no longer need to worry about card associations or various fees charged by credit card companies. You no longer have to worry about interchange fees, set up fees, or contract policies. With mobile payment apps, you can have an easy in or an easy out. Since there is no binding contract, if you don’t like it, just switch.

You need to be able to track points of sale in order to see where your business is succeeding and where your business needs improvement. With mobile payment apps, gone are the days of Excel sheet analytics, billing mistakes, and administrative tasks. Mobile payment apps offer real-time sales reports and analytics so you can track sales, discounts, and refunds. With instant feedback, you have easier access to your business’s purchase history, which allows you to create better customer relationships.

Popular Payment Applications

Over the years, a number of payment applications have grown to become particularly popular with small businesses. Here are some top rated payment apps.

  • PayPal Here has been around the longest in the payment app industry. With free app downloading and account setup, this app allows you to create a business profile, product listings, receipts, and a POS system. It then tracks your sales by time, products, and/or employees. By plugging PayPal’s mobile reader into the headphone jack of an electronic device, your businesses can process debit and credit cards with a magnetic strip; you can also accept checks. Payments can be transferred into your PayPal account immediately. PayPal has excellent customer service, with phone, email, and community support. PayPal charges 2.7% per US card swipe and 3.5% + $0.15 for manually keyed-in cards.
  • Square Point of Sale offering similar prices and policies (i.e., free app and no regular fees). You swipe a payment and the money is transferred into your account in two business days or fewer. If you want it faster, a 1% fee can buy you same-day money delivery. While Square has an online help center, it does not have a customer service phone number. Square does not accept checks, but its magnetic strip card readers are offered free of charge. Each swipe comes with a service charge of 2.75% of each transaction and 3.5% + $0.15 for manually keyed-in cards. Once you sign up for an account, Square sends you the magnetic strip card reader.
  • Shopify is a specialized online sales platform. With a single monthly rate, small business owners can promote, sell, and ship their products through an online store. Shopify offers three pricing options.
    • Basic Shopify: comes with an online store, unlimited products, two staff accounts, 24-7 support, sales channels, and discount codes for $29 a month.
    • Shopify: comes with the basic features as well as five staff accounts and professional reports for $79 a month.
    • Advanced Shopify: comes with Shopify features as well as 15 staff accounts, advanced reports, and third party shipping rates for $299 a month.
  • Google Pay is a great option for small businesses. Google’s fees are minimal throughout the app, and it offers various ways for customer outreach, whether that’s through limited time offers or special coupon codes. The account is also easy to set up, and can be run in conjunction with Google’s other suite of useful tools.
  • Intuit Quickbooks specializes in accounting and bookkeeping needs. It contains tools to track your sales and expenses. Using your mobile device, you can accept payments and send invoices through email. It comes with a fee of $5 per month for the Self Employed Package and $20 a month for the Plus Package.

Choosing The Best Payment App For Your Small Business

With so many options and choices, choosing a payment app can seem daunting.

When deciding, keep in mind that a payment app for your small business depends on your business and your needs. Begin by asking yourself what you need in a payment processor.

  • Is your business mainly online or in-person?
    • If your store is online, Shopify may be your best choice since it specializes in online sales.
    • However, if your business is mainly in-person, choosing from PayPal Here or Square Point of Sale may be a better option. These two platforms are very similar but have a few major differences. PayPal Here has a smaller transaction fee, accepts more payment methods, and has much better customer service compared to Square. However, unlike PayPal, Square has a whole suite of business management tools.
  • Are you running a business that relies heavily on returns (clothing, non-perishable goods)?
    • If so, Square may be better for you. However, if your business is more based on services, or if you value security through customer service more, PayPal Here may be a better mobile payment app for your company.

You get the idea.

All of the plans listed above are free of charge to join. It may be helpful to experiment with different apps to see which one suits you best, and which is most effective and efficient for your business. This is an added benefit of mobile payment apps. They are low commitment. With mobile payment apps, you can take your time to choose the best suited payment processor that will not only benefit your small business, but also your peace of mind.

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