With the constant pressure on retailers and restaurants to provide
faster service, the appeal of wireless credit card
that let merchants process
payment from anywhere is obvious.
Wireless credit card terminals
come in a variety of formats,
each with its own set of benefits and risks.
Whether in the restaurant business, making use
of non-traditional storefront design that optimizes
mobile POS technology, or making sales at conventions or
other temporary sales locations where permanent credit card
readers are not possible, a wireless POS terminal is more than
sufficient. However, some small merchants have opted to take
advantage of a very new mobile credit card payment processing
technology, mobile phone credit card swipers. Marketed under
various names and available for most mobile phones, most
popularly the Apple iPhone, this technology, which includes
a piece of hardware to read the credit card and software
to process the payment through the phone, is relatively
inexpensive and available to anyone with a compatible
payment processing service.
There are several advantages to this type of payment
processing compared to standard wireless POS terminals,
but it also carries its own risks. One of the biggest
advantages is that acquiring the technology is much
less expensive than with standard POS machines, and monthly
fees are far lower. This puts accepting credit card payments
within reach of even very small merchants, such as part-time
handymen, street-card food venders, or private tutors.
But bigger players also stand to gain flexibility, efficiency,
and lower-costs from this tech, such as airlines for on-flight sales,
and restaurants in shopping mall food courts.
However, this new take on POS terminals is not risk-free.
For one thing, many consumers are naturally weary
of inputting their credit card info into anyone else’s
cellular phone. And the same things that make it attractive
also contribute to the risks. If the phone with the credit
card terminal is lost or stolen, anyone who understands
the technology can use it to make fraudulent charges.
What’s more, though the price is falling, the fee per
charge with this technology is higher than the same
transaction with a standard credit card POS.
The advent of totally mobile credit card
processing via smart phones offers both
significant benefits and very real drawbacks from merchants.