From the blog Getting Your Full Value From Mobile Credit Card Processing

Using a mobile device to accept credit card payments (known as mobile credit card processing) delivers value for everyone.

Small business owners enjoy a convenient, flexible payment solution with low (or no) upfront costs. Owners of larger businesses, on the other hand, keep operations agile and affordable.

That’s because mobile point of sale (POS) systems are some of the most inexpensive payment solutions on the market. Mobile processing rates are also very competitive.

Sound exciting? Let’s dive into how mobile credit card processing works, the leading mobile payment processors, and how to see the benefits of a mobile POS fast.

Mobile credit card processing overview

Mobile credit card processing lets you take payment anywhere with a mobile device. It’s an especially smart addition for businesses that lack counter space or need to take their products and services on the road. 

One of the biggest reasons merchants choose mobile payments? The simple setup process. You can typically use the smartphones or tablets you already own. Most credit card readers and mobile apps are built for Android and iOS devices. 

It’s worth noting that the term “mobile payments” can carry two meanings, depending on how you look at it. On the merchant side, it’s often used to mean mobile credit card processing. But with the rise of mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay, mobile payments can also refer to customers paying with a mobile device. This is a type of near-field communication (NFC) contactless payment. (Another example is paying with a smartwatch.) 

Once you have a merchant account, you only need a few things to set up a mobile POS (mPOS) system.

  • Mobile device: A smartphone or tablet, like an iPhone or iPad.
  • Credit card reader: A small piece of hardware that connects to a mobile device via Bluetooth or audio jack. Card readers can take magnetic stripe (swipe) cards, EMV (chip) cards and NFC transactions. 
  • Mobile app: An app to manage transactions. Some include only payment features. Others offer inventory management, real-time analytics and a host of business tools.

If you’re already a business on the go, meeting new customers and taking payments, you know it’s an exciting time for mobile credit card processing. Solutions are always changing, so it’s helpful to work with a payment processor who keeps you informed of the latest mobile POS features.

Mobile POS top features and tools

The best mobile POS solutions are small but powerful toolkits. These features increase efficiency, allowing you to devote time to growth, profitability and cash flow goals.

Which features add the most value? That depends on your industry type. For example, mobile invoicing is a game-changer for field-service companies. Restaurants can improve table-side service speed with customizable tips. Retail business owners can skip unnecessary store visits by reviewing sales and inventory from home.

Here are the mobile POS features and capabilities to look for:

  • Operates on a Wi-Fi or a cellular data connection
  • Compatible with Android, Apple and other devices
  • Accepts traditional magstripe cards, EMV chip cards and NFC payments
  • Accepts major credit card types like Visa, Mastercard and American Express
  • Connects to other equipment, like a cash drawer, barcode scanner or receipt printer (or has e-receipts) 
  • Has an offline mode
  • Includes light to robust inventory management
  • Offers other features like invoicing, recurring billing, employee scheduling and tip management

Together, your mobile app and mobile card reader create a portable platform that helps you optimize operations. In addition to providing stellar software and hardware, your processor should offer a few more resources.

They should guarantee high-quality customer support and provide clear mobile credit card processing rates. Your processor also needs to offer PCI compliance guidance. (PCI compliance is a set of security standards required for anyone handling credit card transactions.)

Next, we’ll briefly cover how to set up mobile payments and the mobile credit card processors offering the best solutions.

Mobile credit card processing setup and pricing

You may not know it, but if you accept credit cards or debit cards, you already have a merchant account. To add mobile credit card processing, you simply work with your payment processor or merchant services provider.

(If you use a payment facilitator like Square or Stripe, you have a sub-merchant account. This doesn’t affect your ability to use mobile payments, but you won’t have much wiggle room to negotiate rates and fees.)

You’ll decide on payment equipment, like mobile credit card readers, for each of your locations. Then you’ll receive a quote on transaction fees, along with upfront and ongoing costs.

Payment processors offer a variety of pricing models. Payment facilitators tend to have inflexible flat rates. If you’re planning on opening new locations, have a high monthly sales volume, or have low average-transaction values, look for interchange-plus pricing. Some payment processors also match competitors’ credit card processing rates.

5 mobile credit card processing companies to consider

Ten years ago, a handful of mobile payment companies led the pack. Now, hundreds of payment processors compete to offer the best mobile solutions for small and mid-sized businesses. We’ve shared insight into the cheapest credit card processing options before, but if your mind is on mobile, consider these companies.

1. Shopify

If you’re an e-commerce retailer already using the Shopify platform, this could be a logical choice for mobile credit card processing. One plus is that there are multiple pricing plans, ideal if you’re experimenting with mobile payments. 

2. QuickBooks GoPayment 

Of course, a pro is that GoPayment syncs directly with QuickBooks (though other mobile processing solutions do this, too). You’ll need to create a merchant account with Intuit, but this does offer more account stability than other options.

3. Square 

Square is one of the most recognizable mobile payment companies and a good starting mobile solution. Due to a recent pricing structure change, it’s not the best choice as far as cost, but it remains a popular option.

4. Talus Pay

The Talus Pay mobile solution (that’s us) includes all the payment features you expect, like swipe card, EMV and NFC acceptance. Plus, the company matches processing rates and includes mobile equipment at no cost with a merchant account. 

5. PayPal Here

Another online payments giant, PayPal Here is a great option for both e-commerce and retail merchants. Swiped transaction rates are on the lower end, too. However, there’s no offline transaction mode.

How mobile credit card processing adds value 

Mobile credit card processing makes good fiscal sense for most business types and sizes. Here are the benefits for all industries:

  1. Equipment and setup are low or no cost.
  2. Credit card payments and cardholder data are protected.
  3. Personalized service on and beyond the sales floor is easy.
  4. You can serve customers using mobile wallets and contactless payments.
  5. Staff get real-time visibility into inventory.
  6. Checkout lines are reduced.

Getting the most out of your mobile POS: Tips by industry


Mobile payments free you and your staff from behind the counter. Instead, meet your customers on the sales floor and help them at the decision point.

Search your digital inventory in the palm of your hand—without leaving the customer tapping their foot. Staff members can also process payments anywhere, cutting down on long lines at the register.


Quick-service and full-service restaurants are switching over to tablet POS systems at record rates. Why? Mobile point-of-sale systems for restaurants make table-side service easy. Servers can input orders right at the table. When the meal is done, they’ll process payments and receive tips on the spot rather than leaving to swipe a card. 

If you have your eye on setting up self-serve kiosks one day, you don’t have to wait—some mPOS systems have self-serve features. Although restaurant chains are implementing this faster, independent businesses can embrace it, too.

Food trucks and farmers markets

Food trucks have exploded in popularity in recent years. In a cramped kitchen, there’s no room for bulky, wired payment equipment. And farmers market vendors need a portable payment solution, too.

To get the most out of a mobile credit card processing system, both industry types should look for a user-friendly interface, multiple user logins, offline mode and durable card readers. Consider leaving off the receipt printer and opting for an mPOS with text and email receipts.

E-commerce businesses

You already know the benefits of mobile credit card processing if you don’t have a brick-and-mortar location. With just a mobile credit card reader and an app, your online store becomes a storefront. Expand beyond online payments and start meeting your customers where they are. 

Field-service businesses  

Technicians and employees can see available parts and inventory with an mPOS. Some solutions even let owners track technicians and jobs in the field. One major bonus: Invoicing and waiting becomes a thing of the past. Technicians can create invoices and take payment before leaving the job site.

Mobile opportunities for all industries

As we’ve discussed, one of the most unique benefits of mobile payment processing is the ability to take payments on the go. You can set up shop in a park, at a community center or an industry event. 

These opportunities may seem obvious—or time-consuming—but if you’re looking to grow, they’re a no-brainer.

  • Set up at a popular, local festival
  • Get a booth at a trade show or conference
  • Host a pop-up event

Even if you implemented mobile payments years ago, make sure to keep your finger on the pulse for new places to take your business. Mobile credit card processing could be the edge you need to expand your operations, generate sales and more.

Ready to get started or make a switch to a better mobile payment solution? Talk with a payment processor today.

Are you ready to grow together?