In the recent past, businesses were limited to doing where they could accept payment, both cash and credit card. As with many other things, smart phones have allowed businesses to become more mobile. This week we’re looking at mobile payment application which allow businesses to use their smart phone to do business on the move.

The benefits of using a mobile payment application include:

  • Allows businesses to accept payments wherever they are doing business.
  • Allows businesses to do business outside of a brick and mortar building.
  • Allows businesses to go green by emailing customers their receipt instead of printing them out.
  • Allows businesses to analyze inventory straight from their phone.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Square (Android & iPhone): Square offers both a free download of the app as well as a free reader. Square users can accept all credit cards including American Express at a rate of 2.75%. If the credit card reader is not used and the card number is keyed in the Square rate is 3.5% + 15 cents for each transaction. No contracts or fees are required for using Square’s app. Any payments made with Square are directly deposited into the business’ account the day after the transaction. Square has a customizable inventory with unique pictures and names but can also use preset items. The app also offers analytics and full data reports for what you are selling. For customers, it has a smart tipping function so they don’t have to do math on the fly as well as offering digital receipts through text or email.
  • Credit Card Terminal (Android & iPhone): Credit Card Terminal offers both a free app and free reader to its users. The service accepts all credit cards including American Express. If you don’t pick up a reader, credit card numbers can be keyed into the application. To use the services of this app there is a $25 monthly fee that includes access to Merchant Focus and Authorize.Net but for non-profits there is a special pricing offer. For those already using Merchant Focus or Authorize.Net there are discounts based on the price point you have with them. For iPhone users, customers can pay with a signature by signing on the iPhone (or iPad). Businesses can email receipts to their customers using this application.
  • Pay Anywhere (Android & iPhone): Like the other applications, Pay Anywhere features a free download and a free reader to its users. Businesses using Pay Anywhere can accept credit card payments using the app. The fees associated with using a  credit card through the service are 2.69% + 19 cents for swiped cards and 3.49% + 19 cents for a card that is keyed in. There are not monthly fees or minimums for using the app. Pay Anywhere users can show their inventory, with pictures, using the application. All transactions are completed in real time and receipts can be emailed to customers.
  • PayPal Mobile (Android & iPhone): The PayPal Mobile app is a bit different then the others we talked about. This app is based off having a PayPal account. It allows you to do anything you would do through PayPal on your own. The app allows for online payments, sending money (useful for teams on the go), or for accepting payments from others. Any fees associated with normal PayPal transactions apply to the mobile version as well.
  • Google Wallet (Android only right now): This is a brand new app by Google that aims to replace your regular wallet with one on your mobile phone. At the moment the application is limited based on those who can accept payment from Google Wallet and the type of credit card you are using. For merchants accepting payment via Google Wallet there are no additional fees. At the moment there are not many ways to utilize Google Wallet, but it is definitely an app to keep an eye on.

These are some of the apps we think are useful for businesses that need to accept payments on the go. What are your favorite mobile payment apps?

[CC photo courtesy of ianmlcm]