Part of giving customers a great experience is having a fast, efficient, and secure check-out process.  Businesses large and small are searching for ways to streamline the process, and mPOS software is quickly becoming a popular solution.

Short for mobile point of sale, mPOS means that any smartphone, tablet, or dedicated wireless device can be transformed into a cash register.  This allows businesses to create additional point of sale terminals throughout the store, or on-site at remote locations like festivals, conferences, or shows without having to invest a ton of money.

In this article, we’ll discuss the things you need to know about mPOS software.  Read on to learn how it works, whether or not it’s secure, and why it might be a good fit for your business.  Finally, we’ll give you details on a few of the most popular solutions so you can decide which works best for your business model.

How Does a Mobile POS Work?

There are a few different things required to use a mobile POS system.  You can transform any tablet or smartphone into a cash register by downloading a mobile app to process purchases.  Typically, when you register with a company to use their services, you’ll have the option to purchase hardware like a portable card reader that plugs into an audio jack or hand-held docking stations that can scan barcodes or print receipts.

Not only can you take payments through the mPOS app, but you can also link the service to your business bank account and have it automatically deposited.

If you’re a small business who needs financial processing software, this is an inexpensive solution that allows you to accept payments from all major credit card services.  Larger companies can link a mobile POS system to their more extensive, legacy POS system for an integrated process.

In many apps, taking the payment is only half the process.  If you need to track your inventory or reconcile your accounting numbers reliably, the software can help with that too.

What are the Benefits of mPOS?

There are a lot of reasons why a retailer might consider using mobile point of sale technology.  Here are a few of the most profound benefits to any business.

1. It’s Cost-Effective

Investing in a legacy point of sale software system, and all of the computers, card readers, receipt printers, and other hardware that goes with it is expensive.  While large businesses will have a budget for these types of purchases, the price tag could be a non-starter for small businesses or start-up companies.  mPOS software is an inexpensive way to take an electronic device you already have, like your smartphone, and turn it into a credit card processing machine.

2. It Can Go Anywhere

Using a mobile software to process transactions gives you endless possibilities as a business owner.  If you’re a large business who wants to do a better job of connecting with your customers on the sales floor, mPOS software is a solution that could get your staff out from behind a cash register.  The technology facilitates on-the-spot price checking and allows team members to complete a transaction from anywhere in the store.

If you participate in on-site events like conventions, art shows, festivals, or other opportunities to showcase your business, products, and services in the community, a good mPOS app is invaluable.  This way you can make sales on-site without having to worry about transporting bulky equipment or needing to plug into a hardline internet connection.

3.  You Can Build a Database

Mobile check-out technology means that your customers are more likely to want their receipt emailed directly to them.  Not only is this environmentally friendly, but it gives you an opportunity to capture their data for use in future marketing campaigns.  How valuable would it be to have the email address of all of your customers over the past year?

Is mPOS Secure?

The number one question on every business owners mind when considering implementing new technology is whether or not it’s a secure option.  No one wants to be responsible for a data breach that compromises the financial information of their customers.  Fortunately, all reputable mPOS apps and software use robust data encryption and store the information in the cloud, not on the device, giving you an extra layer of security.

Most apps require a password to activate and mask credit card numbers so that you can only see the last four digits of the transaction.  These features, combined with the password or fingerprint recognition security inherent on your tablet or mobile device, create a safe environment for processing mobile payments.

Choosing a mPOS Software for your Business

There are a lot of companies who offer mPOS solutions.  The best one for you will depend on a few factors.  Look for companies who provide hardware like card scanners or receipt printers in addition to software solutions to streamline your check-out process.  Some apps will integrate with larger POS legacy software systems, while others may not.  Finally, most credit card processing companies charge a fee per transaction.  Pay attention to those details when choosing the best for you.

Here we’ve rounded up three of the leading players in the mPOS space and given you a rundown of what you can expect from each service.

Square

The Square Point of Sale app is one of the most popular among large and small businesses alike, and for a good reason.  The free app works with Apple devices, and anyone who downloads it receives a complimentary reader for magstripe that plugs into your headphone jack.

The free app has tons of functionality.  Not only will it process payments from all major credit cards, checks, and gift cards, it just charges a 2.5% fee each time you swipe.  The service works with or without a connection, so if you don’t have access to Wi-Fi, the app will store the card information for later.

You can create invoices and recurring payments with the software, as well as view sales reports and analytics for your business.  There is an integrated inventory management feature to help you keep track of what items you still have in stock, and it will automatically calculate sales tax and allow customers to add tips to their transactions.

Every sale is linked to an employee, and you can also use Square as to track the timecards of your staff.

Other features, like an integrated email marketing platform and the ability to build and distribute custom gift cards for your business, help you not only to sell more but also to promote your services as well.

In addition to the free card reader that you’ll receive when you sign up, Square offers several other hardware upgrades for purchase.  If you want to upgrade your set up to use chip card technology, contactless swiping, or to have a whole register system with printable receipts, those options are available.

PayPal

PayPal is a well-established mobile wallet that’s known for making it easy to send a request money and securely pay online.  Their mPOS software, called PayPal Here allows you to process major credit and debit card payments, send invoices, and record cash and check transactions remotely.

Their fee structure is a bit complicated, and breaks down as follows:

  • 7% per US card swipe
  • 5% + $0.15 to key in cards
  • 9% + $0.30 to invoice
  • 5% for cross-border transfers

You can download the free app on any mobile device including Apple and Android phones and tablets.  Not only does it offer payment processing, but you can also manage your inventory, send invoices, and generate reports through the software.  In addition, PayPal can accommodate up to 1,000 different users on one business account and allows for different passwords and access levels on each.

There are several hardware options available through PayPal here.  The PayPal Mobile Card reader is the least expensive at $14.99 and plugs directly into your headphone jack.  It works on credit and debit cards with magnetic stripes, but PayPal reserves the right to enforce their reserve policies with this scanner.  That means if you make over $500 in sales using it over a 7-day period, they will hold the funds for up to 30-days to ensure there isn’t any account fraud.

To avoid this, you can choose one of their chip card readers that connect to your device via Bluetooth.  They start at $24.99 for the basic equipment and run up to $79 for the top of the line model.

VeriFone

A worldwide leader in merchant processing, VeriFone has a suite of mobile payment devices for large and small businesses.  Although their options are small, handheld devices, their software doesn’t plug into your existing mobile phone or tablet.

Known for always having the latest security, VeriFone’s hardware can use multiple operating systems giving you a scalable solution if you are shopping or a large business or a quickly growing company.

They work closely with their clients to build customized packages, so for details and pricing, we recommend you reach out directly to VeriFone to discuss your business needs.

The Bottom Line

Mobile POS software is the wave of the future and can revolutionize the way you do business.  Not only is it an affordable option, but some of the safest and most secure technologies plug directly into your phone.  They are easy to use and streamline the shopping experience for your customers making them a win/win all the way around.

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