These are exciting times in the trades. Apart from a rosy economic standing, tradies can take delight in the recent crop of technological fomentations designed to make business easier than ever.
For one, tradies can now take credit card payments through their phones and tablets. In a development that is nothing short of historical, the checkout system is no longer confined to clunky Windows-based systems wired to bulky card processors. With the help of the following apps, you can turn your gadget into a cash register, anytime, anyplace:
This is the brainchild of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, so that should tip off how concise and powerful this checkout solution is. Square one-ups the most dedicated point-of-sale systems out there with an offering that’s as affordable as it is powerful.
Available on both Android and iOS, Square is a preposterously easy-to-set-up solution, updated regularly by Dorsey et al. You only need to plug its free reader—aptly, a white square—to your device’s audio port to begin swiping cards. Moreover, Square can support barcode scanners; receipt printers; kitchen ticket printers; and cash drawers, to make a formidable checkout system that’s ideal for more stationary businesses.
Total effective cost is 2.75 percent a swipe, or a flat fee of $275.00 a month for high-volume businesses. Manual input of the card costs at least 3.5 percent a transaction.
In addition to accepting credit and debit payments, Square has Wallet, a payment method in which customers simply bring their Square-enabled phones to transact. Square also accepts CNP payments.
One thing that sets Square apart is its relative quickness. All credit card transactions are deposited into your bank account nightly. Alas, Square is only available in the US, Canada, and Japan.
Paypal has waded into the credit card processing game with Here, which serves UK and Australia in addition to US and Japan.
Here’s edge is that it accepts many forms of payment. In addition to accepting credit cards with its free reader, Here allows cashless transactions—through a Paypal account, of course. Not only that: Here lets customers pay with checks, which the app can capture on camera before depositing.
Compared with Square, Here has a slightly cheaper swiping cost at 2.7 percent. Checks come free of transaction fees.
On the downside, Here has yet to appease high-volume enterprises by offering a flat monthly plan. Merchants may also be annoyed by the fact that funds are transferred to a PayPal account, which takes three days to deposit to the bank.
Familiar with Intuit? The makers behind the accounting system have their own mobile POS solution, GoPayment. Like Square, GoPayment costs 2.75 percent for every card transaction, and merchants can opt for the fixed monthly price. Also like Square, it deposits card payments directly into your business checking account within a day.
GoPayment charges slightly higher for American Express cards though.
Already a champ in checkout systems, Innerfence now gives you the option to turn your mobile gadgets into credit card terminals.
Innerfence is the most sophisticated of the POS solutions outlined here. It is the only one to accept payments via Windows Phone, in addition to iOS and Android devices, and integrate well with merchant accounts like Braintree. It has apps for PC and Mac too, even the older models. Finally, its reader is very stable, resembling a traditional terminal.
All these combine to make Innerfence arguably worth the 2.9 percent cost (and 30-cent transaction charge) or the $25 monthly service charge. Hey, at least the reader is free.
Developed by coupon king Groupon, Breadcrumb can also convert your mobile device into a credit card reader. The difference is that you can input Groupon deals into transactions.
Breadcrumb is also different in that its reader isn’t for free: an oblong reader tagged $15. But it may be worth it: The reader has a long swiping groove.
Like GoPayment, Breadcrumb considers American Express a class of its own. Otherwise, it costs most cards 1.8 percent a swipe, with a transaction fee of 15 cents. Payments are transferred the following day to your bank account. Breadcrumb has a desktop and laptop app.