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A Review of the Top Three Mobile Credit Card Readers

February 10, 2014 by Ed Becker

Square ReaderSquare Reader started it all in 2010 to enable anyone to be able to accept a credit card anywhere in person. These tiny devices connect to your smartphone or tablet through the headphone jack and allow you to swipe a credit card on the spot. It has revolutionized options for small business owners and opened the door for many to begin credit card sales.

PayPal and Intuit have jumped into the pool more recently. The advantage they have coming in at a late date is that they are backed by the foundation of two large financial firms. PaypalPayPal is known worldwide as an online financial icon. Intuit has a huge customer base from TurboTax and QuickBooks with an excellent reputation in the business world. So how do the three stack up side-by-side for usability, services and fees?

All three have sleek small readers that plug into your device, tied into their own software. You just swipe and enter the amounts, it’s done. At least on your end. The rest of the transaction is taken care of on the backend by the service you choose and deposited into your account.

A Review of the Top Three Mobile Credit Card ReadersFees range pretty close together. You can either pay a percentage of the sale plus a transaction fee. Or Intuit and Square offer a monthly payment plan that lowers the percentage per sale. To qualify for the flat rate or monthly plans and benefit from the lower rate, your sales must be at a certain level per month. If credit card sales are usually steady, the monthly plans could lower your overall fees. But if you are just starting out, using per transaction fees and percentages would be the optimal choice. For per transaction billing, PayPal has the better rates. And many businesses already have accounts set up so the transition would be very simple.

Customer service is also a consideration when choosing a company to work with for payment processing. Square leaves customer service to email communication only. Reviews by customers are less than stellar. PayPal and Intuit both have much better customer service systems in place simply because they have already built the foundation of direct service. Both rate much higher in customer reviews for service. Based on this aspect alone, Square is very lacking. This is a huge thing to think about if you are setting up a brand new service for your customers.

Based on fee structure, reputation and ease of use PayPal seems to come out on top. You can actually reduce your per transaction fees to 1.7% if you opt in to using the PayPal debit card with 1% cash back incentives. They have excellent customer service by telephone, email and online tickets. The response times are usually very fast. If you already have a PayPal account, it is very quick and painless to set up for credit card processing. You may have to upgrade your account to a business account, but that is also very simple. You also have a few options on setting up your account and fee structure. PayPal also offers the added services of online gateways, shopping carts and many other useful business tools. All-in-all PayPal rates best in class over Intuit or Square.

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