Gone are the days of having to rely on your “brick and mortar” store to drive shoppers to your business. These days, traveling retailers can make a sale with just the touch of a button and the swipe of a credit card via their smartphone. Using smartphone credit-card readers, businesses have the capability of taking their sales to the next level, but the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota is advising business owners to make sure such a system is right for their business.
The BBB recommends the following tips for businesses considering implementing smartphone credit-card readers:
• Do your research. Just like a landline-based credit-card system, you’ll need a merchant account to process payments, a scanner device to read the card and software (app) to make it run. Don’t skimp on research. Start with your bank or your credit-card service for suggestions on recommended services and devices. Check out all vendors at bbb.org. Ask for references.
• Choose the right combination. Your smartphone merchant account might interface with your existing landline-based account, and that will make life easier. Build from there; find the app you feel comfortable using that has the features you want. There are more than a hundred apps available for different smartphones; each is usually compatible with a number of different swiping devices. The reader itself is the last step (and the easiest to replace or exchange).
• Read the fine print. Using a smartphone credit-card reader might be a great way to increase your sales while on the road. However, make sure to read the fine print for the smartphone app to make sure you won’t be charged while you’re not using it.
• Offer the customer service your shoppers expect. Some shoppers may not be familiar with this kind of payment method. Be sure to offer them the option of having a receipt emailed to them, or even offer to print the receipt there with a separate smartphone printer. This will reduce the hassle should your customer want to return the product.
• Beware of scams! As with any emerging technology, scammers are figuring out how to exploit vulnerabilities. Don’t buy the devices or apps from vendors you don’t know.
The mission of the Better Business Bureau is to be the leader in building marketplace trust by promoting, through self-regulation, the highest standards of business ethics and conduct, and to instill confidence in responsible businesses through programs of education and action that inform, assist and protect the general public. We are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact the BBB at bbb.org or 651-699-1111, toll-free at 1-800-646-6222.