I can tell you honestly in the past few weeks I have seen small time merchants using a mobile credit card machine and making the transactions fast and painless. It is the smaller shops than you realize and when I had to purchase uniforms for my son’s school, the school shop used an credit card reader for the iPhone which just plugs into the iPhone and allows you to swipe and charge credit cards or debit cards for transactions. I was really glad I didn’t have to shell out cash for the uniforms and don’t usually carry a paper check with me.
This also works for micro-transactions as well, I was in California a few weeks ago at a mall and there was an Italian ice vendor selling flavored ice, my kids wanted one each and they were only like $2 for a small cup. I had zero cash on me and didn’t think they would accept card because they were just a small cart under an umbrella, but sure enough the lady had an Android phone and had a merchant account and everything was able to charge just the $5 and even allow me to add tip for making the transaction so convenient.
This is a lesson for even the smallest businesses or entrepreneurs that you need to make payments as easy as possible and be flexible. This is a mostly cashless society now and if you can’t take credit payments you are missing out on potential business, no more do you need the expensive machines that require land lines to process transactions and using your own mobile phone to process credit card transactions opens up items.
Example, let’s say you offered a local class just teaching something you know really well like if I wanted to teach WordPress or beginning blog courses, I could allow people to sign up online and get pre-registrations but if I didn’t have the ability to allow for walk ins to come in and join the class on the day of, I would potentially lose the ability to make a little more. The same is true if you do both online and offline services for other things, especially if you setup some sort of small shop or temporary shop.
In the farmers markets in California, there is another example where out in parks and school grass fields tents upon tents of folks are selling everything from organic mushrooms to home made dried jerky and organic tomatoes, avocadoes and more. Many of the merchants are still cash based, but a few of them were processing payments on their mobile phones and taking credit card payments. Now the locals who know they need cash often bring enough, but I quickly found out that you can spend a ton of money at a farmers market and it goes fast, it was great that some merchants offered credit payments as an option even in the middle of a grass field.
Do you sell stuff at a garage sale, maybe allowing someone to buy items with a credit card could get more sold than relying on them to have the few bucks in their wallet as well. I know I sell a ton of stuff on craigslist as I constantly get new gadgets and replacement gadgets, I either re-gift, giveaway or sell the old stuff and once I start getting enough items it may be worth being able to say that they can pay with credit card when they pick up the item instead of having to bring cash (stop at ATM first).
The good thing about many of these mobile credit card payment systems is most of them ship you the device to plug into your iOS, Android or Blackberry free and have no monthly or maintenance fee. PayAnywhere for example has just a % of transaction which is just 2.69% which is just under 3 cents on every dollar. To me it is worth it to not have to install a whole system and opens up more options rather than requiring cash only.