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All About Credit Card Swipers and Readers

If you manage a small business and can’t accept credit cards, you’re leaving a lot of sales on the table regarding your business. Services like Square, Verizon’s Intuit, and PayPal’s Here enable small business owners to accept credit card payments via a tablet computer or smartphone. It’s super quick and easy to sign up and incredibly simple to use. However, they will charge you a fee for every transaction you process.

Set Up

Mobile credit card processing companies require business owners to log into their merchant accounts prior to accepting a payment. Usually, it’s as easy as submitting your email address and your password. Next, you’ll need to enter the amount you’re charging your customer in order to complete the credit card processing transaction.


Swipe your customer’s credit card into the reader that’s attached to your mobile device. Using the magnetic strip located on the back of their card, the reader will process the payment information regarding your customer. If your customer isn’t physically present, you can simply enter the details of their card manually instead. Once you’ve entered the information, you can then send your transaction to be processed.


For most merchant accounts, the service then transmits the amount of your requested payment to the bank of your customer through an encrypted connection via a 4G or wireless connection. If there’s enough available funds, the specified amount will be transferred electronically to your merchant account you already have set up with your credit card processing service. The majority of services also let you send a detailed digital receipt to the customer either by text message or email once the payment is processed.

Transaction Fees

Some services charge a certain percentage for each transaction made, while others utilize a combination of payment charges and membership fees. If you intend to process a lot of transactions, the latter option may be better for you in the long run. Services that charge membership fees usually take a smaller percentage of your credit card transactions. In general, once transactions are processed, the fees are directly debited out of merchant accounts.

Signing Up

Signing up online with a payment processing service in order to establish a merchant account is easy. Typically, you’ll be required to submit your company or personal details and then verify your identity, similar to signing up for a standard payment account online. Most services will give you a free card reader that’s compatible with the latest versions of Windows, iOS, and Android devices. Check with your particular payment processing service to determine if you have the correct hardware.


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