Mobile Payments vs. Credit Card Processing: Which One Will Work You?

Trip Ochenski


Accepting and processing credit cards from your customers is much easier today than it was in the past. Having a customer use a credit card within a business often means that a business owner can expect that customer to spend up to twenty percent more in that store than they otherwise would have. Furthermore, many businesses today operate a retail website. Since the vast majority of people prefer to use their credit card when shopping online, being set up for processing credit cards is practically a necessity for any business.

For years, businesses that wanted their customers to use their credit cards inside their business had to purchase a credit card reading terminal. Today, however, businesses have the option to accept credit cards through mobile payment processing. This technology allows a business to accept credit card through a smartphone or tablet computer.

Mobile payment processing offers a way to process customer credit cards no matter where a business sets up its operation. Without mobile payment processing, a business will need to purchase or rent a credit card reading terminal. This terminal will need to be connected to either a landline phone or a high-speed internet connection. Every time a customer uses his or her credit card, it will be swiped through this terminal.

Today, however, there are a number of credit card merchant services that provide small card readers that work over an internet connection. Because they are not required to be tied to a landline phone, these readers can be used anywhere that a staff person can access the internet. Some of these devices plug directly into a smartphone or tablet computer and use the device’s wireless network to transmit credit card data to the service that is processing credit cards.

To get set up to accept mobile payments, a business must first buy one of these card readers. After receiving the reader, the business must then connect it to their mobile device and download the app that goes along with it. This app will store customer data, transmit it to the processing company, and provide both the business and the customer with a receipt of the transaction.

Any business that does work and/or makes sales in multiple locations can benefit from mobile credit card processing. For example, businesses that operate out of traveling craft fairs and farmer’s markets are able to use this technology to accept customer credit cards for the first time.

Other businesses, such as landscapers and plumbers that have a central office but do most of their work away from it are now able to accept customer payment at the time of service. Instead of waiting for a customer to be invoiced before being able to accept payment, then dealing with the possibility of bounced checks, a mobile business can now count on immediate, reliable payments.

Of course, traditional businesses such as restaurants, or brick and mortar retailers may find that they have very little use for this new technology. Businesses that do not work in the field often will probably find that they can continue to rely on their traditional credit card terminals.

The new technology available in the field of credit card processing will open up a lot of possibilities for some businesses. Being able to accept customer payments from practically anywhere will mean that some businesses will be able to rapidly expand their customer base. Other businesses, however, will not see a lot of benefit from using the new technologies.

Author’s Bio:
Trip Ochenski writes about merchant services and mobile payments at Switch Commerce. He is also author of the SwitchTalk Blog. You can find him on Twitter as @SwitchCommerce.

Thank you for adding to the conversation!


  1. says

    These new mobile payment systems are revolutionary for small business. For years (more than I care to count), I had to pay for astronomical monthly fees and discount rates because I only had a few customers that were actually using credit cards. These new mobile payment systems have eliminated those expenses from my budget. Yay!

  2. says

    Mobile payment systems have been very helpful for my business as we do sales all over US and have customers from around the world. This is truly a revolutionary thing as Heidi Thorne mentioned.

    Technology surely is empowering small business owners with several handy tools to make the market, a level playing field. Thanks for the post!

  3. says

    Some CC processors make it so easy to accept payments! The trick is being somewhere that has a wifi connection available. I like using a service that provides the card reader to free.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *