Mobile payment services have made it ever so easy to collect payment by credit card at a remote location such as a customer's site or craft show. It is convenient for the customer and great for your cash flow. In this and the next column, I provide some  information about five mobile payment processors. All of them use an app that you download to a smart phone or tablet. Four of the five use a device inserted in the microphone port to scan the credit card. The fifth uses the phone or tablet camera.

First, a Biz Owner Academy announcement. Spreadsheets are a very useful business management tool. The Port Charlotte SCORE Biz Owner Academy will conduct a one hour how-to live demo for novices on how to set up and use spreadsheets as a business management tool. It will be at 7:30 a.m. on April 8 in Suite 411, 1777 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte. Refreshments will be provided. Tuition is $15. Reservations are mandatory as seating is limited to four. To reserve a seat, send an email to port.charlotte @score.org, attention Bill McCabe, who will be the instructor.

One of the first mobile payment providers to penetrate the market was Square. It can be used on most Apple (IOS 6.0 and up) and Android (OS 4.0 and up) devices. In design and function it is simple and easy to use. The device and software are free. Square's fee structure is simple. For processing a card swipe transaction processed through its providers, it charges 2.75% and for a manually entered transaction 3.5% plus 15 cents.  It is a lot less formal than conventional fixed terminal payment processing services. If you want to stop using it, you simply stop using it. Reviewers criticize it for poor telephone help desk service and for overzealous security that sometimes results in the freezing of user assets when transactions are deemed to be dubious. However, they praise it for its ease of use and the simplicity of its pricing structure.

Intuit, the makers of QuickBooks, offers Go Payment.  It can be used on most Apple (IOS 6.0 and up) and Android (OS 2.4 and up) devices. It requires that you have a merchant account with Intuit making it more complicated to set up. It charges new customers $50 for the device. Its fee structure is complicated. Basic users pay 2.40% plus 25 cents per swiped transaction, 3.40% plus 25 cents per keyed transaction, an additional 15 cents transaction fee for non-qualified transactions and a 20 cents batch fee. Pro users pay a $19.95 monthly fee, 1.75% plus 25 cents per swiped transaction, 3.15% plus 25 cents per keyed transaction, an additional 15 cents transaction fee for non-qualified transactions and a 20 cents batch fee. Users with less than $3,500 in transactions will want to use the basic option. It operates like a conventional fixed terminal payment processing service. If you want to stop using it, you must go through  a formal process to cancel the contract. Reviewers criticize it for its complex fee structure, more complicated set up and the formality of its structure. They praise it for its integration with QuickBooks and its somewhat better support services.

Next time PayAnywhere, Flint Mobile and PayPal Here.

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