“I wonder how to accept credit card payments on my phone.” If this is something you’ve said to yourself, you probably fall into one of the following categories:

  • You need an easy, affordable way to take payments without the upfront cost of a traditional point-of-sale (POS) system.
  • Your team needs to be able to process payments and take care of customers anywhere in your store or office.
  • You need a portable checkout tool for on-the-go sales, like trade shows, farmers markets, or home repair services.

Whatever your reason for diving into mobile payments, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, you’ll learn how to turn your smartphone or tablet into a convenient mobile POS system in a few steps. We’ll break down what a mobile POS system can and can’t do, tips to choose the right one, steps to get started, and the benefits of using your mobile devices to accept payments. Let’s dive in.

What Is a Mobile POS System?

A mobile point-of-sale (POS) system, also called an mPOS, might sound complex, but it’s just a smartphone or tablet that functions as a portable register. You’ve likely seen mobile payments in action in everyday life. 

Food businesses are a great example. Restaurants are increasingly providing pay-at-table options using iPads or Android tablets, and food trucks can deliver amazing eats anywhere thanks to mPOS systems.

While traditional POS systems have card terminals, cash drawers, and receipt printers that limit transactions to one fixed location, mPOS systems can go where your business takes you. That’s because an mPOS system only requires three things: a mobile device, a mobile credit card reader, and a payment app. The streamlined setup means mPOS systems are inexpensive and easy to implement. (We’ll talk about other mobile payments benefits later.)

Depending on the type of POS software you use, your mPOS can let you take payments on the go or manage your entire business. Your team can schedule appointments, check customer or patient profiles, monitor inventory, run reports, and more. There are plenty of payment processing options too. Most mPOS systems accept a variety of payment methods, including:

  • Magnetic stripe cards
  • EMV chip cards
  • Contactless credit cards
  • Digital wallets (Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay)
  • Gift cards and vouchers
  • QR codes

And just like a traditional POS, mPOS systems allow customers to pay in full or sign up for recurring billing options or payment plans.

All in all, mobile payments are ideal for any business that needs a low-cost, flexible payment solution.

How To Accept Credit Card Payments With a Phone in 3 Steps

How to accept credit card payments on my phone: A credit card sits in a card reader attached to a tablet

Getting a mobile point-of-sale system up and running is easy. You need to sign up with a payment processor that offers mobile payments, connect a credit card reader to your phone or tablet, and download the required payment app. Then, you’re ready to start taking payments.

That said, choosing the right mobile payment processor and comparing different mPOS options — hardware and software — can be challenging. Here’s a quick overview to help you accept payments on your phone in no time.

1. Choose a Payment Processor

You may not know it, but if you already accept credit cards and debit cards at your business, you have something called a merchant account. It’s a special type of business bank account that allows your customers to pay you with card, ACH payments, and more. So, setting up mobile payments could be as easy as asking your current credit card processor to add a mobile POS to your account.

Not partnered with a payment processor yet? Look for a merchant service provider that will do the heavy lifting for you, has affordable pricing, and will give you the payment options you need. For example, with a provider like Nadapayments, your merchant account will be set up for you, and you’ll save money on transaction fees. Plus, you’ll have the ability to accept in-store, online, and mobile payments.

2. Get a Mobile Credit Card Reader

A credit card reader is the small piece of equipment your customers will use to swipe, insert, or tap their preferred payment method. Card readers can connect to your mobile phone or tablet via Bluetooth or headphone jack — whichever works best for your device. For instance, if you have an iPhone X with no audio jack, you might need to stick to Bluetooth options.

Your payment processor might offer a free credit card reader when you sign up for mobile payments. Otherwise, most card readers cost $20-$50. As you comparison-shop readers, pay attention to accepted payment methods, data connection options, and compatibility.

For instance, some readers take magstripe cards and EMV cards but not NFC transactions (also called contactless payments). Some readers operate on Wi-Fi or cellular data only, while others have offline options. Lastly, check that the reader is compatible with your operating system (iOS, Android, etc.).

3. Download the Mobile Payment App

Generally, you’ll need to use a mobile credit card reader and payment app from the same processor. Bottom line: Many credit card processing companies don’t want the liability of using another company’s subpar or faulty equipment to process payments. So, your final step is simple. Once you’ve picked a mobile payment processor and equipment, you’ll download their mobile payment app.

This app is the digital hub where your team will handle credit card transactions and store card information, so you want to make sure it’s user-friendly and secure — top to bottom. This is especially important if you’re exclusively using a mobile POS to run your business, or you’ll rely on it for other tasks like invoicing, employee scheduling, or inventory. Our advice? Ask to demo the mobile app or do a trial run for a couple weeks to make sure it’s the right fit.

How much you ultimately pay to accept credit card payments on your phone depends on the equipment and level of mPOS software you get. The average mobile processor is going to charge a variety of payment processing fees, such as mandatory transaction fees or monthly fees for service. 

But there’s an exception: Nadapayments. We offer a free credit card processing solution — called a surcharge program – that helps you hold onto your revenue and avoid unnecessary costs.

4 Unique Benefits of Using a Mobile POS System

A shop owner uses a tablet to accept a credit card payment

There are plenty of reasons to get excited about adding a mobile POS to your payments lineup. Here’s a snapshot of how accepting payments on your phone can give your business a boost.

1. Minimal Setup

Many business owners know the frustration of cramped quarters and busy countertops. For instance, space is often at a premium in health care practices like optical offices and dental offices. Mobile POS systems are handy for a variety of businesses precisely because they don’t require dedicated space. Your device and card reader are compact, lightweight, and easy to transport at a moment’s notice.

2. Business on the Go

The biggest difference between an mPOS and traditional POS is portability. Mobile technology allows you to do business and provide excellent service anywhere, whether you run a brick-and-mortar or e-commerce business. Trade shows, annual conferences, community events, or pop-up stands — it’s all on the table.

3. Cost Effective and Scalable

Every entrepreneur knows what they could do with an extra $1,000 or $5,000 in their pocket. Where most traditional POS systems require a hefty upfront investment, mobile POS systems are inexpensive by design. The low price tag keeps startup costs under control and opens up expansion possibilities for your organization.

4. Better Customer Service

Looking to improve your customer satisfaction? Implement a mobile POS to free your staff from being trapped behind the register. In stores and in the field, your sales team or technicians can assist customers wherever they are, reducing checkout lines and payment delays.

Another great example is health care, where privacy and comfort is paramount. You can give patients the ability to handle payment in the treatment room of your plastic surgery clinic, for instance, rather than out in the lobby. These changes add up to an unparalleled customer experience that keeps clients coming back.

Ready to Mobilize?

You’re now ready to accept credit card payments on your phone. As we’ve discussed, a mobile POS is easy to use, inexpensive, and portable, making it a strong choice for most business types and sizes.

With just a mobile device, credit card reader, and a payments app, opportunity is at your fingertips. The only disadvantage to accepting credit cards with your phone? The mobile credit card processing fees, which can add up to thousands of dollars every year. 

There’s a better way. With a credit surcharge program, you can get 100% of every credit card payment. Get in touch with us at Nadapayments to learn how we help you save and start taking payments on-the-go with our mobile app.