Which Credit Card Reader is Best for Cell Phones? Squareup is the Easiest to Use!
I sell jewelry at Fairs and Farmers Markets. In the beginning, I only accepted cash and checks. As time went on, people started asking me if I accepted credit cards, especially when they had already spent all of their cash on vegetables. After the 4th person walked away when I said I did not, I finally went looking for a service.
Shazam - A Call-In Merchant Service
The first service I signed up with was through Shazam. It is a call-in service. I call a Toll Free number, enter my merchant #, enter all of the credit card information, and receive an authorization code. It worked great until I bought an HTC Touch Pro Smartphone. The Shazam service can easily hear the tones of all the data I enter on a basic phone, but it did not hear the tones on my HTC Touch Pro phone. I ended up using my husband's basic cell phone. This worked fine, except that he had to give up his phone for that time. This method also takes a lot of time. It has a 3 year contract, a monthly fee of $17.50 per month or a vacation fee of $7.50/month, plus a transaction fee and a percentage fee. The percentage is higher for American Express.
I decided to find something simpler and faster. By this time, I had ditched my HTC Touch Pro phone in favor of a Blackberry Curve through US Cellular. I did a search for credit card readers and found one that worked on a Blackberry. However, I ran into a problem because US Cellular does not offer that kind of service and the service did not work on a Blackberry Curve.
I switched to Verizon and bought a Blackberry Bold which worked with Payment Max, the service I had discovered. Signing up for Payment Max was time consuming with many pages for the application process. I quickly filled out the forms. I had some questions, but when I called the Sales Dept number that was on their website, it said to leave a message. No one called me back, ever. I went ahead with the application anyway, paid for the Card Reader to be sent to me – about $60.00 with fast shipping. I was selling jewelry at a big fair that weekend and wanted to have it. When I received it, the service was more complicated than I thought it would be using it on a Blackberry, and I had no time to learn it before the fair. I didn’t use it that weekend. The next month I discovered a $50 charge taken from my bank account from Payment Max. Apparently, in very fine print, I had agreed on the application to pay a minimum usage fee of $50! I left messages. No response. I emailed them and finally received a response saying that I had agreed to this charge. After much arguing, they ended up reversing the charge and giving me my money back. I canceled the service.
I then tried Payment Jack which is an inexpensive service at $9.99 fee per month, good rates and worked on a Blackberry. The App was easy to download. However, It kept booting me out of the account. With the tiny letters and numbers on the Blackberry, I had a hard time getting the password in and having it be accepted. I also had a hard time using the small mouse on the Blackberry to get into the right line and enter data for the transaction. I gave up and continued using the call-in Shazam service with my husband's basic phone.
One day, another vendor told me about http://Squareup.com which only works on an IPhone, IPad, and Android. I didn’t really want to buy another phone, but the call-in service was getting too time consuming. I had also been coveting the IPhone4s ever since my daughter's boyfriend showed me how useful and fun Siri is to use.
I kept putting it off until one day I broke down and bought an IPhone 4s. I love it! See my Hub about it: Blackberry vs IPhone: Which One is Best for You?
I am now using SquareUp for credit card transactions at the Farmers Market. It is by far the easiest one to use. The App is easy to download. Like the others, it plugs into the phone’s headset jack. However, it never boots me out of my account, so I don’t have to keep entering my password. It is very easy to move around the App and enter information. Swiping the card is a little tricky and sometimes I have to try 5 times before it authorizes, but practice makes it faster and easier. There is no monthly fee and no transaction fee. It has one simple rate of 2.75% for every credit card transaction. All major credit cards are accepted with the same rate. The credit card reader is FREE! And, it has next day deposit.
I highly recommend Squareup! Every time I use it, I am so grateful because it saves me so much time and effort to accept credit cards. My sales have gone up as a result. People buy a lot more jewelry when they find out that I accept credit cards. Enjoy it!