How to Pick the Right iPhone Card Reader for Your Business
By Jasmine Glasheen
So, it’s time to get an iPhone card reader for your business. There are multiple benefits to arming your store associates with mobile card readers, the foremost of which are reducing line wait times and letting your customers checkout wherever they want.
Mobile readers are also more cost-effective than full-fledged POS stations, so they’re great for businesses that are just starting out, as well as established retailers that struggle with long lines. Although most mobile card readers look pretty much the same, all card readers are not created equally.
A good mobile card reader can save you money by reducing your number of keyed-in transactions, which usually cost quite a bit more to process than regular sales. And since iPhone is the #1 smartphone in the U.S., its essential to have a card reader with iPhone compatibility to maximize your revenues.
So, let’s take a look at which features to keep an eye out for in an iPhone card reader (as well as what “features” to beware of) when choosing a card reader for your retail business.
It’s All About the App
Nobody wants to be nickle-and-dimed when trying to process transactions in their stores. But apps and software can come with a hefty price tag, and some payment processing companies will even charge you a different amount depending on which card reader you’re using to process transactions.
This can get confusing and it can make it difficult to monitor how much you’re paying for payment processing. Instead of waiting until your bill comes to learn how much you’re actually paying for payment processing, you should look for a software solution that allows you to pay the same amount per transaction regardless of which POS systems or card reader you use to process the sale.
Another thing to keep in mind is that certain payment processors’ apps only work on iPhones or Androids. This means all of your employees with the wrong type of phone won’t be able to process transactions with the platform.
This isn’t ideal.
Obviously, you want all of your employees to be able to use your card readers. So, choose an iPhone card reader like Payment Depot’s that uses the SwipeSimple app––which is compatible with both iPhone and Android devices––so you don’t have to worry about which employee uses which phone when creating schedules for your staff.
Software & Hardware Pricing
The price on mobile POS readers ranges from free (but you pay a percentage of each transaction) to $200 a month plus $75 for the reader.
Although your instinct is probably to go with the free option (whose isn’t?), free card readers rarely have an EMV chip option. So, with many of the free readers out there you have to process customer transactions by the old school swipe-and-a-prayer method, which can increase your amount of keyed-in transactions and thus raise your rates for payment processing.
A good, old fashioned magstripe reader is just the beginning, though. It’s 2020 and most customers will expect you to have an EMV chip reader at this point, and some will even expect Bluetooth capabilities.
Many service providers are third-party payment aggregators––meaning they process all merchant transactions from one account. Third-party aggregators tend to accept more businesses, but they are also more vulnerable to data breaches and they can close your account for minor infringements without notice.
Payment Depot, on the other hand, helps to protect your customer data and your business by giving you your own merchant bank account when you start working with them.
Payment Depot is also one of the most competitively priced platforms on the market today, charging a membership rate of just $49/month, but charging nothing for EMV-compatible card reader rental.
Contactless payment is all of the rage nowadays––Apple Pay, Google Pay, you name it, and customers expect to be able to use it at checkout. Just 3 percent of payments in the U.S. don’t use swipe or chip readers, but that number will continue to grow in coming years.
Contactless payments use NFC, or near field communication, which enables your card reader and your customers’ smartphone to share payment information.
But not many iPhone card readers have caught up with consumers’ desire for contactless payment. Most payment processing providers either don’t offer contactless payments as on option, or the NFC or Bluetooth platform that they use has an unreliable connection––which is a surefire way to frustrate customers and employees.
Square is one of the few payment processing companies besides Payment Depot that offer contactless payments at all, but Square, like most of its competitors, is a third-party payment aggregator.
This means that Square doesn’t offer the security of an individual merchant account. Square also charges $50 for their Bluetooth compatible reader, while Payment Depot charges only $25 for Bluetooth capabilities.
Payment Depot uses Swipe Simple as their main mobile card reading platform. Swipe has two Bluetooth readers that work with both iOS and Android devices: the free B200 card reader (which still has an EMV reader), or the B250 reader that costs $25 and has contactless payment capabilities. If Swipe’s not your thing, Payment Depot also uses an Authorize.net card reader, which works on both iPhone and Android.
Think About the Needs of Your Business
In addition to the factors above, be sure to consider how and when you’ll be using the iPhone card reader in your business. For instance, is it something that you plan to only using during special events or will the device be part of your day-to-day business activities? What types of payments are you planning to accept?
The answers to these questions will point you in the right direction. Consider the following:
Battery life – If you’re planning to use your iPhone card reader all day, every day, then choose a device that has a long battery life. The last thing you want is to have to plug your reader to an outlet in the middle of a sale.
Types of payments – Be sure to choose a card reader that lets your customers pay using the method that’s most convenient for them. For example, if your shoppers prefer contactless payments like Apple Pay, then choose a device that supports that.
SwipeSimple, as mentioned earlier, has a number of options for you. There’s the B200 card reader which lets you take EMV, Quick Chip, and magnetic stripe payments; there’s also the B250 which does all the things that the B200 does, but can also accept contactless payments.
Reporting – Choose a solution that gives you detailed reports on your sales and payments. How much revenue did you generate? What are the most popular payment types? How much is your average transaction value? These questions can help you glean insights that will pave the way for smarter business decisions.
Final Factors to Consider When Choosing an iPhone Card Reader
Square or Intuit GoPayment might have the best mobile card reader options for you if your business falls into the high-risk category, and which one you go with will depend on whether you’re already a QuickBooks user.
If you don’t run a high-risk business, however, Payment Depot is the solution for you. Payment Depot gives you the peace-of-mind of a merchant account at a lower card processing rate than the competition. And when you open a merchant account with payment Depot, you gain access to their 24/7 in-house customer service––so you can ensure that your iPhone card readers are always functioning perfectly to create a more seamless customer experience.