The smartphone has shrunk the personal computer into the pockets of consumers, but how has it changed the marketplace for retailers and sellers?
If you run a traditional “bricks’n’mortar” shop, then you are able to use a traditional payment processing machine to accept credit and debit card payments, with many now accepting contactless payments. But what about pop-up boutiques and stalls which have found such success during the recent financial slump? Most remain a cash-only business.
Being cash-only may be fine for a food van, where most transactions are around £5, but what about fashion boutiques or other stores when your bill may be pushing £100 or more? This is where mobile payment processors come in, and where Square was the first company in the US to make inroads in this space, there are numerous competitors in the UK competing to make accepting such transactions as hassle-free as possible for both seller and consumer.
Here are a few of the options:
We’ve been following iZettle for a while here at TechFruit, as the Swedish startup were the first company that started to make waves in Europe, and unlike Square use of the age-old magnetic strip, iZettle uses the more secure Chip and PIN method of authorising payments.
The seller can buy the card reader for £99 (or the buttonless “chip and signature” version for just £20) which connects to most recent iPhones, iPads, and Android devices via bluetooth, and then iZettle take a 2.75% fee on each transaction, with that rate reducing the more sales you make down to 1.5% for those bringing in over £2,000 per month.
Payleven offers a pretty similar service to iZettle, also with a £99 buttoned card reader which accepts most debit and credit cards with Chip and PIN and links up to a vast array of iOS and Android devices. Payleven also charge a flat 2.75% transaction fee, obviously squaring up to compete directly with iZettle in the market – and competition is always a good thing. Taxi companies in Berlin have already signed up to Payleven, letting customers pay for their ride by card – something I hope we will start to see on these shore soon.
Intuit again offer a similar offer to iZettle and Payleven, with a buttoned Chip & PIN reader which wirelessly hooks up to your Android or iOS device running the Inuit app. Their reader is a little cheaper at £95, but also offer a flatrate 2.75% transaction fee.
SumUp makes another similar play for taking mobile payments, with a £20 buttonless card reader that can attach to most modern Android and iOS smart devices, and then again a 2.75% transaction fee. Problematically, unlike the buttoned card readers from iZettle and Payleven, SumUp actually gets the buyer to sign the screen of the mobile device and then that is checked against the card. The more secure Chip and PIN technology is designed to allow this verification as a fallback option, but the similar device from iZettle recently got blocked by VISA – something you do not want to happen when you’ve got people waiting to pay!
It’s quite a crowded marketplace, with most companies offering similar deals, with the differences coming in the style of readers, the look of the apps (and back-end reporting software), and most importantly customer support on the rare occasions anything goes wrong. But there is certainly no excuse for not accepting card payments now, no matter where you are selling.