how to accept mobile payments - man paying at restaurant with credit card

How to accept mobile payments

Monday, December 01, 2014
When it comes to your business, it’s no longer confined to one physical location. That’s because today’s technology is making it easier than ever for business owners like you to accept customers’ payments from wherever your business takes you. Gone are the days of only brick-and-mortar businesses. Today, businesses can thrive as a brick-and-mortar, a pop up, a mobile business, or any combination of these. Mobile payments make this possible – and as they are becoming more common, your business should know about them. In this article, we’ll discuss mobile payments, their advantages, and how your business can start accepting mobile payments. To start, let’s define mobile payments.

What are mobile payments?

A mobile payment is a form of electronic payment that uses a mobile device – like a phone or tablet. Mobile transactions are becoming more common, with over three-fourths of US consumers making a mobile payment of some kind from August 2018 to August 2019. There are four types of mobile payment options:

  • Mobile browser-based payments – Using a smartphone or tablet, a customer accesses an ecommerce website for checkout and makes a payment with a credit or debit card, a gift card, or ACH information.
  • In-app purchases – Customers upload their payment information in a mobile app, then make purchases right within the app. Customers can make in-app purchases with a click of a button, as long as their payment information is already saved. There are also mobile payment apps like PayPal and Venmo that allow customers to send payments to friends and businesses like yours. Consumers can even scan QR codes for their friends or businesses to make payments directly to them.
  • Mobile credit card readers – This type of mobile payment turns a smartphone or tablet into a mobile point of sale system (mPOS) to accept credit card payments right on the device.
  • Contactless payments or mobile wallets – This mobile payment method uses near field communication (NFC) to make payments via an EMV chip enabled credit card or on a mobile phone through a mobile wallet like Apple Pay on iOS or Google Pay on Android. This process uses tokenization, a process that switches a customer's secure credit card information for a string of numbers that works as a one time code. Many mobile wallet payments also utilize two-factor authentication with a biometric scan to confirm the cardholder's identity. 

Now that you know the different types of mobile payments, let’s talk about the advantages of mobile payments.

The advantages of mobile payments

The decision to accept mobile payments can feel like one more thing you have to do. After all, as more and more businesses become more than just brick-and-mortar stores, customers are expecting more ways to pay on the go. Mobile payments come with a variety of advantages – for both your business and your customers:
  • Convenience – mobile payments take less time than traditional payment methods to process. That's because customers almost always have their smartphones on them, so it's a fast and convenient way for them to pay. For your business, getting set up to start accepting mobile payments is quick and easy. And for your staff, taking mobile payments is simple and intuitive, with software to make it as easy as possible to ensure a safe and accurate transaction.
  • Less cash – mobile payment systems allow customers to pay without having to count out cash or businesses counting back change to their customers. Plus, less cash is better for businesses, too. Mobile payments can limit the amount of bank deposits you and your staff have to make, saving you time and effort.
  • Integration with other systems – many mobile payment systems offer functionality that allows you to link them to your accounting system, invoicing system, or even offer customers rewards and loyalty programs. MPOS systems can also make it easy to change pricing, update inventory, and see sales reports. All this makes for a seamless experience – for you and your customers.
  • Greater revenue – mobile payments allow your business to accept multiple forms of payment, thus giving your business the opportunity for more customers and revenue. Since you can sell outside a normal storefront, you’re expanding your business’s footprint. If you sell goods, mobile payments give your business the opportunity to take your business anywhere. And for service providers, you’ll streamline your customer’s payment process, so you can take payments right at the customer’s home.
  • Security – both customers and businesses know that security is always a concern when processing payments. While cash used to be the standard for businesses on the go, technology has made it safer and easier to use mobile payments. That’s because mobile payments are as secure as credit cards, if not safer. Your payment processor will utilize methods that follow PCI compliance to protect your customers and your business.

Mobile payments can help your business do more and sell more, especially on the go. They allow you to have more control over how you run your business. You’ll be able to attract more customers and take their payments no matter where your business takes you. If you’re ready to accept mobile payments at your small business, let’s talk about what you need to start.

What does my business need to accept mobile payments? 

Your business is ready for mobile payments and it’s time to make sure you can accept them. So what do you need to get started? As we discussed before, the type of mobile payment will dictate what you need to accept that type. Let’s take a look by breaking mobile payments down into the four categories we talked about earlier.

  • Mobile browser-based payments – to accept this type of payment, you’ll need a payment gateway to capture the information and then you’ll need to work with a payment processor to facilitate where the information needs to go.
  • In-app purchases – to accept this type of payment, you’ll need a smartphone app that allows your customers to pay in the app. If it’s a dedicated payment app, you’ll also need a way to relay the customer’s payment information to your point of sale (POS) system. Talk to your app developer or POS system provider for more information on integrating these into your business.
  • Mobile credit card readers – to accept credit cards on the go, you’ll need a mobile card reader. Most often, you’ll work with your payment processor to get this mobile card reader or mPOS system. You’ll then utilize a smartphone or tablet app to take payments by having your customers swipe the magstripe or insert the EMV chip-enabled card. With mobile credit card processing, the whole process takes place on the smartphone or tablet, making it easy and convenient for your business.
  • Contactless payments – to accept these payments, you’ll need a card reader that accepts NFC payments. If your business is on the go, your payment processor may have a solution to help you take NFC payments using mobile credit card readers.
You’ve seen how mobile payments can help your business. From accepting credit cards on the go to allowing your customers to pay with their smartphones, mobile payments give your business more flexibility. This flexibility can help boost your business while streamlining the payment process for you and your customers. 
Ready to work with a payment processor who can help you accept mobile payments at your business?

Heartland is the point of sale, payments and payroll solution of choice for entrepreneurs that need human-centered technology to sell more, keep customers coming back and spend less time in the back office. Nearly 1,000,000 businesses trust us to guide them through market changes and technology challenges, so they can stay competitive and focus on building remarkable businesses instead of managing the daily grind. Learn more at