Nearly one in three consumer purchases in the United States is made with a credit card. As a result, many customers assume that every business accepts credit or debit cards. For a mobile locksmith or a locksmith at a jobsite, accepting credit cards has become a necessity, as more and more people do not carry cash or a checkbook. With the introduction of the smart phone and Internet capable tablets, the process of accepting a credit card has become totally mobile and a whole lot easier.
“Smart phones are widely expected to have a significant impact on the electronic payment industry because they fill an immediate and strong need to move everyday transactions from cumbersome cash to cards and other forms of electronic payments,” according to MasterCard.
A growing number of mobile payment system companies offer credit card processing apps for Android (running OS 2.2 or higher) and iPhone (running iOS 5.0 or higher) smart phones, iPod Touch and many tablets. This has made the process easier and less expensive. Contact your cellular phone carrier to be certain your smart phone or tablet is compatible before beginning the process.
With this relatively new technology, there are security concerns. Point of sale mobile payment acceptance brings new risks to the security of cardholders’ data.
The PCI (Payment Card Industry) Council’s five founding global payment brands, American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB International, MasterCard Worldwide, and Visa Inc., have agreed to incorporate the PCI Data Security Standard (DSS) as the technical requirements of each of their data security compliance programs. With Mobile Point Of Sale (MPOS) it is important to secure the account data at the point of capture. For a list of validated Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE) solutions, go to the PCI Council Web Site: www.pcisecuritystandards.org.
To make the mobile device capable of online processing, a credit card reader plugs into your device’s standard 3.5mm headphone mini jack. Most mobile credit card readers are relatively small and will fit into a shirt pocket. Most mobile credit card processing readers are free; other providers require the reader to be purchased. Some providers will give a rebate equal to the purchase price when terms are fulfilled.
Reader software must have SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Encryption, which are cryptographic protocols designed to provide communication security over the Internet. PCI Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) provide regulations that payment processing companies must follow.
There are two methods for processing a credit card: swiping the card through the reader and entering the credit card number using a keypad.
The advantage of having a reader is that swiping the credit card completes the process without human interaction. Entering the credit card number can result in a significantly higher cost of doing business each time a credit card is processed in this method.
Mobile credit card processing begins with choosing an independent company that is not directly connected with any credit card. Visa and MasterCard do not offer processing services. Choosing a company is not easy. Just about every company has varying rates and services available.
When you begin the researching process, find out which credit cards are accepted by what companies. Not all companies accept Visa, Master Card, Discover and American Express. Some companies also process PayPal, checks, debit cards and email invoices.
The fee charged for processing a swiped card transaction can be different for different credit cards. Some processing companies charge additional fees for card swipes when swiping cards other than Visa, MasterCard or Discover. These can include American Express, rewards, corporate and/or special cards.
Notes from the Editor