The majority of Americans believe that smartphone payments will replace credit cards and cash, according to a recent study by Harris Interactive. With mobile credit card processing on the rise, flea market vendors are gradually joining the mix of sellers using their smartphones to help turn a profit. Phone Swipe, a mobile payment processing solution, was specifically crafted by North American Bancard to help businesses and vendors increase revenue. Since launching in 1992, the company has grown to process more than 12 billion electronic transactions annually for more than 150,000 merchants nationwide. “Phone Swipe allows business owners to offer their customers an expanded range of payment options, and allows consumers to conduct credit transactions anytime and anywhere,” explains Leonard Wong, sales partner at North American Bancard. Mobile payment systems are perfect for the flea market and swap meet industry because many vendors are constantly on the go, he points out. “They often work a variety of hours in different locations. Technology is something that they can use to increase their revenue.” Before another moment of 2013 passes, vendors should consider putting the following tips into practice.
1. Smartphones account for roughly half of all mobile phones being used today, so, for those making the transition to touch screens and data plans for the first time, begin by researching your options. The most important attributes to focus on are the network speed at your market and the amount of data storage you have. Does one carrier have a better, faster signal in your area? If so, be sure you are with the carrier that will be least likely to lose service mid-swipe. For hardware, the popular vote has been primarily with Android phones, chosen by 48 percent of smartphone users. Some 32 percent of users prefer Apple and 11 percent choose Blackberry devices, according to Nielsen Mobile Insights. In choosing your device, consider the volume of business you do on an average week at the market. If you make a great deal of sales and have a large inventory, remember to pick a phone with enough storage space, in gigabytes, for this information.
2. Make sure that your personal financial information, and that of your customers, is secure. The best way to do this is to take a close look at the fraud protection strategies of any mobile card payment system you consider. An important area to note is Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance. For vendors who have not owned a brick and mortar store or processed cards in the past via a regular credit card terminal, PCI compliance may be a new concept. By verifying that your mobile processing system adheres to PCI guidelines, you will be able to avoid any misconduct fees. Consider taking the tech savvy route and attending one of the PCI Security Standards Council’s webinars. More information for small businesses and vendors is available at www.pcisecuritystandards.org/merchants.
3. Remember that the system components themselves should not be expensive. This type of technology is on the rise, and, as more service providers enter the mobile payment market, the growing competition leans in vendors’ favor. In the case of Phone Swipe, the app and card reader are available for free. “The most important benefit is the cost savings,” Wong adds. “We charge 2.69 percent per swipe, which is the lowest in the industry. Beyond that, there are no setup, monthly, minimum or cancellation fees.”
4. Customize your payment system to suit your booth and business needs. This is especially important when it comes time to track transactions. Inquire as to whether or not any technology you’re considering gives you the option to use real-time reporting, specify date ranges and search for individual transactions. Many free spreadsheet apps are available for Android and Apple devices, including Zoho Sheet, EditGrid and Zoho Reports. These apps allow you to store your booth’s sales data on the go.
5. Make it a priority to set up your default tax percentage within the settings on your mobile payment app before you pack for the market. This will ensure that the line between taxes and net profits remains clear. Having this setting in place ahead of time not only eliminates excess number crunching, but also makes filing your paperwork easier when spring arrives. Some mobile processing apps are even configured to detect your location using your smartphone’s GPS, and then automatically calculate the tax rate.
6. Use technology to help you add discounts to your merchandise. With Phone Swipe, you have the choice to do this either by dollars or percentages. If you aren’t sure how much of a discount you can afford to offer, install an app like Discount Calculator or Checkout Helper on your phone to crunch numbers more efficiently. The flexibility to calculate individual discounts may help you cope with even the most insistent hagglers.
7. Bear in mind that even your most app-addicted customers may still prefer a paper trail with their purchases. Mobile card readers can produce a printed receipt if you have a wireless AirPrint enabled or Star thermal printer, both of which are available on the Phone Swipe website. Offer every shopper the choice of mail or print receipts for every transaction.
8. Take control of organizing your inventory, and use photos from your smartphone library to help you. Wholesale suppliers prefer it when orders are placed online because they can send electronic confirmations and shipment updates while also keeping their own inventory up to date. Take a tip from your suppliers by using your smartphone and the Internet to keep track of available inventory, orders due for arrival and what you’ve already sold. An inventory-tracking feature is one of the lesser known capabilities of certain card processing systems and it can be useful for on the go vendors.
9. If there is more than one person working at your booth, streamline your selling process by linking multiple card readers to a single merchant account. This will eliminate the step of compiling sales from separate people and will minimize human error. Rather than go through sales by hand, use a system that tracks every transaction for you and holds this information in a single database. Zoho Sheet and EditGrid are useful online spreadsheet applications, and, at the close of every market, you can store your data in the cloud, using storage hosts such as Google Drive, if you have a Gmail account, or Dropbox.
10. Be sure the system you choose is user friendly and that tech support is readily available. “Phone Swipe is more intuitive than learning to use your average credit card terminal,” Wong points out. “If you have learned to use a credit card terminal before, this is going to be a cinch.” Accepting credit cards on the go is a simple matter of putting the credit card reader in the socket on your smartphone and downloading the free app. The Phone Swipe tech support team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the event that vendors need any assistance.
“Last year, worldwide mobile payment transactions totaled $172 billion, which is a 62 percent increase over the $106 billion from the previous year,” Wong shares. “It’s projected that this figure will reach $617 billion by 2016, based on information we’ve sourced from Gartner Research.” By maximizing mobile options, vendors can increase profits and enter the spring market season on the cutting edge of technology.
For more information:
4900 Hopyard Rd, Suite 310
Pleasanton, CA 94588
Toll free: 888-204-3539
Discount Calculator by Infolife LLC
Checkout Helper by Mohawk Apps
Email: Online form