Free iPhone credit card readers for small business owners

Free iPhone credit card readers for small business owners


Convenience is the general theme that our society has been speeding towards, getting things fast and easy, that’s the way we like to roll. We can see this through the popularity of services like Netflix; instant movies, and iTunes; instant music.  Credit cards in essence, are fast money, but not fast enough.

Services for taking payments on your iPhone is relatively new. A company called Square released an app and dongle last May that would allow users to accept credit cards from their iPhone, it has since caught on and many variants including card readers are hitting the streets.  Enabling small vendors, artists, even used item hockers, to charge their customers via the seamless instant swipe of plastic.

In the last two days two companies have begun offering credit card reader swipers free to new customers. Intuit Inc. is one of them, makers of the ever popular Tax accounting software.  They want to give the little guy a small boost by offering its GoPayment mobile payment service, which will include a free credit card reader and zero monthly service fees, for business owners that sign up by mid-February.

GoPayment is a system that utilizes mobile handsets, like the iPhone, and uses them as a cost-effective method of processing credit transactions. Since its launch almost two years ago GoPayment has enabled small businesses to process $80 million in mobile transactions using a mobile handset and the GoPayment system, and the market is still expecting significant growth in the coming years. GoPayment is compatible with more than 40 handsets and a large range of traditional credit card readers, this includes the popular credit card reader from ROAM Data, which is used with a variety of iPhone, Blackberry and Android devices, making it more accessible for a new start-up business owner to start accepting mobile transactions.

“By offering a free card reader and no monthly service fees, we want to give more small businesses a head start in the New Year by enabling them to take mobile payments without any upfront investment,” said Chris Hylen, general manager of Intuit’s Payment Solutions division. “And this is just the beginning. We’ll introduce new ways all year long to help more small businesses get paid quickly and inexpensively using their favorite mobile devices.”

GoPayment offers a selection of different rates and pricing plans to accommodate any business’s needs. There are no long-term contracts, or any hidden cancellation or setup fees, and one account allows up to 50 users. Their app is called the Intuit GoPayment Credit Card Terminal and is free from iTunes. Below is a brief highlight of the general pricing plans for the service.

For lower or intermittent credit card processing volume:

No monthly service fee for businesses that sign up before mid-February

Discount rates: 2.7 percent for card swiped; 3.7 percent for both key entered and non-qualified transactions; $0.15 per transaction.

For higher credit card processing volume:

$12.95 monthly service fee

Discount rates: 1.7 percent for card swiped; 2.7 percent for key entered; and 3.7 percent for non-qualified transactions, such as corporate cards; $0.30 per transaction.

The second is from App Ninjas, developers of Swipe Credit Card Terminal for iPhone, today have decided to give away the Apple-approved Credit Card Swiper for iPhone 4 and iPod touch hardware free to all new users who sign up by January 15th. Their app that works with the swiper is available on iTunes for 99 cents and is called iSwipe Global Credit Card Terminal.

Their fees are as follows:

  • 1.74% VISA/MasterCard Qualified Discount Rate
  • 2.29% VISA/MasterCard Mid-Qualified Rate
  • 3.79% VISA/MasterCard Non-Qualified Rate
  • $0.24 per Transaction
  • $24.95 per month (Includes Authorize.Net Fee)

“Providing iPhone 4 and iPod touch users with a swipe accessory allows any mobile merchant to quickly process transactions, saving them money and time,” said John Waldron, CEO of App Ninjas. “Swipe’s features help manage credit card transactions with virtual terminal access, online reporting, real-time authorizations, and premium customer support, including access to a customer support rep assigned to their account, from the moment they download Swipe.”

Depending on your business, how many transactions you expect to do, and the payment gateway you are dealing with either solution could be good for you.  We haven’t had any hands-on time with either products, so we’re unsure of the reliability and ease of use between both products.