Mobile credit card payments on the move

Modern communications technology now makes it easy for you to accept card payments on the go, and whether your business is always mobile, or if you occasionally need to take payments away from your main site, there will be a solution available for you.

Don’t forget though that mobile networks are never perfect, and it’s vital that you have a manual back-up option.

Fully mobile credit card pinpad terminal

If your main business is mobile, or if you have a fixed location but sometimes have to travel to other sites, you can rent or buy a fully-functioning mobile card terminal from your merchant services provider. These credit card terminals look and feel just like an in-store terminal, but work over the mobile phone network. Remember to carry spare till rolls and any other supplies that your terminal needs!

Smartphone/tablet apps

A number of companies now offer apps coupled with miniature card readers that run on a smartphone or tablet. Most of these work as a stand-alone card payment option, and like an online bureau service, they combine the card processing gateway and merchant account services. Worldpay Zinc, iZettle and Paypal all offer this type of service, allowing you to turn your smartphone into a card reader in just a few minutes. There are also services that combine in-store and mobile card processing and merchant services with everything running on a smartphone or tablet. These can be a bit more expensive than traditional card payment solutions but for small business with a variety of sales channels, they offer a lot of flexibility, often on a pay-as-you-go option.

We look at some of these apps in more detail here.


4850We cannot stress the importance of having a manual backup option if you’re taking payments on the go. Imagine you’re a taxi driver who finds themselves dropping off a fare in a remote location with no mobile signal. Or you’re at a trade show and the mobile network is overloaded and slow. Or your phone battery has gone flat. A manual credit-card imprinter gives you a back-up option that will always work.

If your mobile terminal fails, complete a sales voucher, use your imprinter to take an imprint of the customer’s card, note the CVV number and make sure that the customer signs the voucher*. When you have access to your payment system, either online or via your terminal, you can input the customer’s card details and process the payment. Remember to keep the signed voucher, in a safe place, because this is your proof that the customer authorised the transaction. Remember to explain to the customer what you are doing, and how their payment will be processed, to reassure them and reduce your risk of a disputed transaction.

*Remember to check the exact rules for manual transactions with your merchant services provider.