Even if you love what you do, you likely don’t want to do it for free since you spent a lot of time, money, and effort going to massage therapy school. It’s natural that you would want to get adequately reimbursed for your expertise.
But sometimes being paid can be a pain, particularly when we’re dealing with credit cards. Back in the day, we had to set up an account with the bank then buy or lease a card reader, pay set up and subscription fees, and pay a percentage on every sale we made. It’s a wonder we ever made any money at all!
Between maintaining a thriving business and maintaining a family, we understand that the last thing you have time to do is research the best ways to accept payment. (It is definitely worth a look, though, since it can save you some money!)
Thankfully, credit card processing apps have streamlined this process and made it easier than ever to accept these plastic forms of payment. But as a small business owner, it can be confusing to know which is the best one to use.
So, what is the best way to accept credit cards? Quite simply, with a mobile payment processing service.
Mobile payment processing service
Most of these mobile payment processing services offer pay-as-you-go plans, in which you pay only a fixed percentage fee per transaction. Although these fees are typically higher than what you’d pay under a traditional arrangement, these newer services can provide any small business a simple, economical way to accept payments via credit card. And instead of making you invest in an expensive card reader, these services offer free readers that can fit in your pocket or bag. Just plug one into the audio jack on your smartphone or tablet and launch the accompanying app, and you’re ready to accept credit card payments for your goods or services.
Most of these plans add value with features such an inventory system, where you can save prices and descriptions of the products you’re offering for sale. Several provide a full point-of-sale system, which enables you to attach cash drawers and receipt printers.
Choosing the right service for you
With so many options to choose from, it’s important that you examine all your payment processing options, along with their respective card readers and software. Today, we’ll examine three services that we like: Intuit GoPayment, PayAnywhere, and Square Card Reader.
Each supplies both an app for iOS devices (iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch) and Android phones and tablets. Only one service currently supports BlackBerry devices.
Intuit offers a free card reader (that’s a bit bulkier than the rest) and app. It offers Visa, Mastercard, and American Express payments at 2.7% of swiped transactions or 3.5 for keyed-in payments. Or you can choose their $13/month plan where fees drop to 1.7 per swiped and 2.7 keyed-in. It doesn’t track cash payments, but it does accept tips. Conveniently enough, it also uses GPS to figure the correct sales tax in your area. Intuit allows for multiple users (which is convenient if you have multiple persons accepting payment), and it can charge cards via a web-based interface as well.
PayAnywhere is a great option if you’re wanting a simple processor. The free card reader and app offers 2.69% per swiped transaction. Key-ed in transactions are subject to a fee of 3.49% plus 19 cents. (Random? We thought so, too.) The app is easy to use, and it tracks cash as well! You can’t waive client signatures for purchases less than $25, which is slightly annoying, as is the fact that printers and cash drawers aren’t supported on Android. The web interface is really impressive, offering graphs of your top sale days and the ability to produce custom reports.
Square Card Reader
Square offers a simple app and service; however, the card reader is admittedly poorly designed. The transaction fee is 2.75% for swipes with the option of waiving signatures for purchases less than $25. 3.75% is the fee for key-ed in transactions, plus 15 cents. You can accept cash payments, which is great, in addition to having a loyalty program that helps you reward your clients. Square is easy to use with a great interface; however, it cannot do partial refunds, and the phone version of the app lacks the inventory feature.
A closer look at associated fees
Accepting credit card payments can be a boon to your business, but the associated fees can be a drag on profitability. PayAnywhere’s pay-as-you-go fee of 2.69 percent per swipe is the least expensive of the four services we looked at, while Intuit’s GoPayment come in with second place with fees of 2.7 percent per transaction. Square’s 2.75 percent fee is the highest of the three.
If you’re processing more than $1,300 in payments each month, you might be better served by one of the subscription plans that combine a monthly fee with a lower per-swipe rate: GoPayment costs $13 per month with a swipe fee of just 1.7 percent.
Low transaction fees aren’t important if the software and service aren’t a good fit for your business. If you need to accept and track cash as well as credit card payments, for instance, GoPayment won’t work for you. If you need to print paper receipts from iOS devices, you should consider PayAnywhere or Square. GoPayment is the best option for printing receipts from Android devices, and if you want the ability to charge cards via a Web interface in addition to using a mobile device.
Since you likely bill by the hour as a massage therapist, you might be interested in Intuit’s new MoneyDue app, which turns calendar appointments into billable hours and provides the option to send E-bills through the Intuit PaymentNetwork.
Regardless of which method you choose, make sure it’s one you feel comfortable using. If not, it’s not worth the cost, whatever that may be.
Do you accept credit card payments? What does your credit card set up look like? Share your experiences in the comments below, and let us know if you have any apps that you love (or hate)!
Comments from original Massamio post:
Was hoping to learn more about when the money goes into your account. I heard horror stories about square keeping your money for two weeks so I went with a traditional credit card service. All I know is to avoid ACH stuff with credit cards but I don’t fully understand what it is. I know my money is available the next day after the batch is processed. — Posted @ Monday, February 17, 2014 11:11 AM by Lesley
Huh. I’ve never had any problem with the Square card reader. And the money has always been dropped in my account in about 48 hours. I’ve got a bunch of clients who use discover, too. SO I like that they accept that, as well as Amex & MC/VISA — Posted @ Monday, February 17, 2014 2:29 PM by Allissa Haines
Wonderful apps that are meant for the credit card payment to manage the businesses. More over with the business model I believe that if all the accounting part is being taken care with the help of one tool or software, it does make a better sense. Practically the expense reporting, tax approach, payroll management everything should come in one platform in order to have the overall process managed seamlessly. I am pretty much impressed with the tools mentioned here in this post but one more tool also could be considered to be included in this list, the cloud based expense reporting software from Replicon – http://www.replicon.com/olp/expense-reports.aspx which takes care of the expense reporting, invoicing and billing and makes the overall business role model a preferred one. — Posted @ Thursday, March 13, 2014 2:15 AM by Sophia Walks
One reason I chose Square over Intuit is that (at the time) Intuit would charge one swipe fee but at the end of the month if any of the cards were corporate, rewards, or some other kind of card a different fee would be calculated and deducted from your account. That seemed like an accounting nightmare. In two years I’ve had no problems with Square. I get my money within 48 hours. I can’t speak for refunds as no one has asked for one. — Posted @ Saturday, April 26, 2014 12:55 PM by Tracy