One of the most exciting recent advances in technology now allows business owners to process credit cards with a Laptop (PC and/or MAC) computer. No longer will your business be tied to a single location. This is excellent news for a large number of businesses. Those who regularly make sales at flea markets, conventions or even service based businesses that do in-home sales and presentations are prime candidates for using these new methods.
What Equipment is Needed?
One of the first questions a business owner may have is what type of equipment do they need in order to process credit cards with a laptop computer. The somewhat surprising answer is not much! If you already have a laptop with a wireless internet connection you are at least half way there.
There are quite a few vendors and service providers who are supporting, selling and promoting this technology. Therefore, your specific system and needs may differ somewhat. However, there are two common ways to allow your business the ability to process credit cards with laptop computers. The first is through the use of a web form. With this system, you will likely require what is known as a gateway along with actually setting up the form itself. This is very easy to configure and your solution provider can either do the installation or talk you through it.
The other solution is even simpler. This involves simply connecting a small mobile USB credit card reader to your computer. This equipment is ordinarily plug and play, so there is almost nothing which you need to do in the way of configuration. However, you may need to download or install a small piece of software.
There are also some more sophisticated systems that are still quite inexpensive that are actual point of sale invoicing systems. One of the best known systems for this is the USBSwiper.com system which works with a variety of merchant processors.
In either of these cases you will need a merchant processing account to handle the actual verifying and processing of the credit card information and depositing of funds to your bank account.
Using This Technology
There really is no change in the way you will process credit cards with laptop technology. If you are using the card reader, you will simply swipe the card and key in the transaction amount and a few other details. Everything will be quickly and securely processed. Then, you may either print out a customer receipt or send it to their email. Quick, easy and simple!
If you are going to process credit cards with laptop technology through a web form, the system is slightly different. You will go to the page with your web form and then manually key in the transaction and card information. Then you hit the process button and everything will be handled securely and automatically. You will then be able to print out a customer receipt (one will automatically be sent to the customer’s email).
The ability to process credit cards with laptop and other computers is an incredible option. If your business is a mobile retailer, this WILL increase your sales. No longer will you need to ask for cash up front, take a check and wait for it to clear, or risk a sale by having to return to the office to process a card. With a simple laptop, wireless internet connection, merchant account, and a USB card reader, you are ready to process orders anywhere!
PayPal announced today that they are launching PayPal Here and will now compete with Square in the mobile payment market.
I’ve received quite a few emails and comments about this, along with questions about what this means for USBSwiper and our plans to move forward with PayPal development.
First and foremost, we’re excited to see PayPal taking this step. We may have been 4 years ahead of the game, but we knew all along we would never be competing with PayPal. Rather, we’d be growing right along with them. That’s exactly what we plan to do now.
The attention this announcement brings to PayPal entering the mobile and point of sale market is fantastic. It’s opening the eyes of both buyers and sellers online and offline to what exactly PayPal can do for them.
The best part…
We can still beat their rates!
PayPal is offering a 2.7% flat-rate on transactions processed using PayPal Here. USBSwiper, though, still utilizes the Payments Pro platform as it always has. Therefore, you can easily qualify for 2.5% or even 2.2% rates when using USBSwiper or the soon to be released, MobileSwiper application with PayPal.
Keep in mind that USBSwiper / MobileSwiper also works with standard merchant accounts which can offer rates as low as 1.48%, so if you really want to save money on transaction fees that might be your best option.
PayPal is simply a tool used to for sending and receiving money. It was originally developed as a tool for accepting payments on your website, but it is quickly making its way into the retail market allowing merchants to process transactions at the point of sale.
How Does PayPal Work?
When you create a PayPal account, you will enter your bank account and credit card information into the PayPal platform. This process allows PayPal to verify its users which reduces the possibility of fraud when sending or receiving money.
PayPal also acts sort of like another bank account for you, although, they’re not technically a bank. Money you receive will fall into your PayPal account, and you can also transfer money to PayPal from your standard bank account. You carry a PayPal balance just like a checking account and you can pay for things with this balance just like cash in a bank account. You can even get a PayPal debit card and make purchases with cash-back rewards.
If you’re on the receiving end of a PayPal transaction, the money will drop into your PayPal account and sit there, as cash, until you either spend it or transfer the funds to your actual bank account.
There is a fee for receiving business transactions with PayPal (personal payments are free) but there is no fee to transfer funds to your bank account. The fees PayPal charges for business transactions are very competitive when compared to traditional merchant accounts.
How Does PayPal Protect Buyers?
When you pay for things with PayPal, the actual merchant you’re purchasing goods or services from will never see anything more than your email address and a shipping address, if applicable. The billing information like your credit card number, billing address, etc. is never seen or stored by the merchant. As such, the odds of your financial information falling into the hands of a fraudster are very slim.
Also, when paying with items using PayPal, the experience is generally very quick when compared to handling cash, typing credit card information, or even swiping a credit card. You would receive a payment request, and all you have to do is enter your PayPal email and password to confirm the payment to complete it.
How Does PayPal Help Merchants Receive Money?
PayPal provides a number of ways for merchants to receive money through their platform. While the standard use of PayPal is the most popular, where buyers sign in and pay through the PayPal platform, merchants can also sign up with Virtual Terminal and Website Payments Pro. This allows them to receive credit card payments directly just like a standard merchant account. This way, you can offer your buyers multiple methods of paying and increase conversion rates.
How Do I Get PayPal?
You can simply register for an account and you will receive all the information you need via email to get up-and-running quickly and easily. PayPal also provides plenty of support options should you have any questions or concerns along the way.
- Don’t be fooled by low, teaser rates.
- Merchant account sales people will advertise their lowest possible rate and sell you on that rate. What they won’t tell you is that rate is only for “qualified transactions”, and very few cards you take will qualify.
- Be prepared to pay an avg. of around 2% – 2.5% no matter what merchant you go with. If somebody tells you they can get you in the 1% range on all your transactions…well let’s just say they’re not exactly honest.
- Watch out for expensive hardware costs.
- Many merchant providers have expensive hardware purchase or lease programs that they don’t disclose while discussing the actual merchant rates. If you get caught up in merchant rates and service charges you may forget about hardware like credit card readers, receipt printers, or barcode scanners. Many will hide hardware leasing costs until after you’ve signed a long-term contract. Don’t let them slip that past you.
- Ask about immediate use of funds.
- Many merchant account solutions will require you to batch out all of your transactions at the end of the day and the money will not be available in your bank account for 2 – 5 days after that. Some others will actually hold a portion of your funds for up to 30 days (sometimes longer) in order to help protect against chargebacks. If you want immediate access to your money you will want to make sure and find a provider that offers this such as PayPal.
- Ask about the refunding of your merchant account fee when you refund your customer.
- Many merchant account providers will not refund your original fee when you refund your customer. In fact, often times they will charge an additional fee for the refund transaction itself. If you are issuing a number of refunds through-out the year these fees can really add up and you’ll be losing lots of money on sales you didn’t even make.
- Ask about declined transaction fees.
- If you’re setting up a merchant account for an online store you’ll need to be prepared for declined transactions. This can happen a lot if somebody decides to use your website to test a bunch of stolen credit cards, for example. If your merchant account charges fees on these transactions you’ll be paying a lot of money for nothing.
- Don’t sign a long-term contract.
- There is so much competition in the merchant account industry these days that it’s very easy to find a solution that will not make you sign a contract. Just don’t do it. If they won’t match a low rate without a long term contract then I wouldn’t recommend risking them trying to nickel and dime you in a lot of other places. I’ve seen it all too often.
- Watch out for bank merchant account outsourcing.
- Don’t make the mistake of assuming a big bank will bring you lower costs or seem more ethical. A large number of big banks simply broker merchant account deals with smaller companies and pass the extra cost (their profit) on to you.