If you’re over the age of 30, you may remember the brouhaha that occurred in 2002 when McDonald’s announced they would start accepting credit cards at their restaurants. At that time, the idea seemed downright comical – particularly since they were one of the first fast food restaurants to do so. In fact, many people’s reactions were something along the lines of, “What kind of person charges McDonald’s to their credit card?” or “Who the heck doesn’t carry enough cash to pay for fast food?!”
These days we’re more apt to say, “Who the heck doesn’t carry a debit card?!”. Thanks to the rise of mobile banking and smartphones, we now use plastic for nearly everything. Yes, even McDonald’s. In fact, a 2012 study by the Federal Reserve found that many Americans carry less than $20 in cash.
As a business owner, you’ve probably noticed a huge shift as well. While you may still receive checks (and the occasional money order) from some of your customers, it’s safe to say that the majority of your customers now prefer to pay by credit or debit card. The question is, how is your business accepting credit card payments from the field? If you’re accepting credit card payments the “old school” way, then credit card payments from the field probably occur in one of two ways: either your customer calls your office and provides their credit card information over the phone, or the customer’s credit card information is written down on the service invoice and taken back to the office for processing.
Unfortunately, neither of these solutions is great for you or your customer. If your customer is even remotely concerned about identity theft or fraud, they probably don’t want their banking information written down on a piece of paper, nor do they want to provide their credit card number to any old Joe Schmo over the phone.
The bad news: processing payments this way also puts you at greater risk for fraud. When you’re accepting a credit card over the phone, there’s no way to know if your customer is using actually someone else’s credit card. Also, keying in a credit card number remotely makes it much easier for your customer to claim they never made the purchase in question and file a dispute. This increased risk of fraud is precisely why many credit card processing companies charge you a higher rate for transactions that are keyed in manually.
For this reason, many businesses that operate from the field have made the switch to mobile payment platforms. In fact, experts predict that mobile payments in the U.S. will reach $142 billion by 2019.
Should Your Business Accept Mobile Payments?
Wondering if you should start accepting mobile payments? Here are just a few of the reasons why it’s a smart move for contractors and other service businesses:
1. Get paid faster
The most obvious benefit to accepting mobile payments from the field is simple: it makes it easier for your customers to pay for the work you’ve completed. This, in turn, saves you both time and money. Not only will you waste less time mailing invoices and making collection calls, it will also help reduce cash-flow problems for your business and cut down the number of write-offs caused by customers who magically drop off the face of the earth when it comes time to pay up.
2. Stop paying high “card-not-present” rates
As you already know, your business gets hit with a higher processing rate when you key in a customer’s credit card information manually instead of swiping their physical card. By supplying your team with a mobile credit card processing tool such as Square, you’ll likely save a great deal of money on “card-not-present” rates.
3. Better customer experience
More than likely, your customer base is changing. As Millennials begin to buy homes and settle down, they’ll start to make up an increasingly large portion of your business. This demographic (along with many Gen X-ers) don’t do business the same way your older client base does. They’re accustomed to dealing with companies like Uber and GrubHub that offer a quick, easy and seamless payment experience. While this may seem like a relatively insignificant detail, it’s one that should not be underestimated. After all, ease of payment is what motivates many people to wait for an Uber instead of simply flagging down a taxi, or order food delivery GrubHub instead of placing an order through a restaurant’s website, even when the restaurant offers a discount for doing so. In short, anything that makes your customers’ lives easier is even better for your business.
How To Start Accepting Mobile Payments
Getting your business set up to accept credit card payments from the field is actually a fairly simple process. The biggest hurdle? Deciding which mobile payment platform is right for your business. While there’s a variety of mobile card readers and mobile payment platforms available, many Breezeworks users opt to use Square’s credit card reader, which seamlessly integrates with our platform.
As of 2014, one in four debit or credit cards in the U.S. had made a payment via Square. Many merchants have switched to this platform simply because it’s so easy to use. The reader plugs right into the headset jack on your smartphone or tablet and is compatible with both iOS and Android. Square accepts all major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express) and charges 2.75% per swipe. The app also allow you to manually enter credit card information if needed, charging 3.5% + 15¢ per transaction.
If you’d prefer to skip carrying a card reader, you can also scan credit cards with Breezeworks’ built-in card scanner, which processes through WePay. After you log into Breezeworks, visit Settings and then tap Payments > Payment setup. After you accept the terms and conditions, you can start taking card payments immediately. No card reader is required; you simply use your phone’s camera to scan card information, and processing fees are 2.8% + 30¢ for a credit card transaction and 1% + 30¢ for debit card transactions.
Both Square and our built-in scanner integrate seamlessly with your Breezeworks dashboard, enabling you and your team to create invoices and receive payments directly from the field. This integration, along with Breezeworks’ built-in CRM platform, team management, and scheduling tools make it easier than ever for you to manage your business.
Interested in trying these features for yourself? Sign up for a 14 day free trial of Breezeworks – no credit card required!