A new solution is available to small businesses who want to take customers’ payments by credit or debit card- but do not want to be tied in to a monthly payment contract.Several companies are now offering SMEs the chance to take these payments using a dongle on their smartphone or iPad. The start-up costs are either zero or minimal, and there is no monthly fee, but the business pays a percentage of each transaction.
iZettle is one of a number firms offering the small card reader that plugs into iPhones, iPads and a number of Android smartphones or tablets.
The customer hands over their card to the stallholder – or plumber or window-cleaner – and it is swiped through the device. Mastercard and American Express card holders then sign for their purchase.
The merchant pays a commission of 2.75% per transaction, and the consumer gets to use their plastic rather than cash in new places.
Traders say the system is secure and customers can request a receipt- which is then sent to their own smart phone with the details of the transaction.
iZettle says 15,000 traders signed up with it in November. But several other firms are also fighting for their share of the market.
Sum Up offers a similar service. It launched five months ago, and as well as its UK operation it says it is expanding in nine other countries.
Payleven, based in London and Berlin, is another firm offering a service where Mastercard and American Express cards holders sign when making a purchase.
It says it will be launching the first chip and pin version of this payment for smartphones running Google’s Android software or Apple’s iOS in February.