Find out which service is best for your small business
In the smartphone age, business transactions are conducted at the tap of a finger. Square, Google Wallet and PayPal all provide simple, inexpensive ways that small businesses can allow customers to pay with their phones. But what are the costs to you? Small but key differences can determine which mobile payment service is best for your business.
With no setup fees or additional hardware needed, Square appeals particularly to startups and mobile businesses. Square Register allows merchants to accept credit and debit cards via smartphone, while customers use Square Wallet to pay with their smartphone. However, the limited customer support—handled solely via email and Twitter—is a potential downside.
Square charges 2.75 percent per swipe or online sales and 3.5 percent plus 15 cents for manual transactions.
Unlike Square, Google Wallet was designed with checkout stations in mind. It requires customers to tap their phones on a special reader to make transactions. In addition to transaction fees comparable to Square, expect an initial investment of a couple hundred dollars to install the readers, says Marc Castrechini, VP of Product Management at Merchant Warehouse, which installs payment technologies in stores.
PayPal Here is a free mobile app and thumb-sized card reader that attaches to Android devices, iPhones and iPads. Transaction fees are similar to Square, with an additional 1 percent for non-U.S. cards. Businesses benefit from PayPal’s live customer support and longer track record.