Taking Mobile Payments At Your Event

At past events taking credit cards was a little tricky. You either had one of those big bricks with carbon copies to swipe cards or used a fancy machine that cost a lot of money.

Now taking credit cards at your event has become very simple thanks to the introduction of several apps and card swipers that plug into your mobile device.

Here is a sampling of some credit card readers and their apps.

  1. Square is one of the most robust of these. The apps that work with Square includes being able to setup a register and keeping track of inventory for if you are selling shirts or other merch. Square is 2.75% per swipe with no additional fees. The card reader is free via their website (squareup.com) or $9.95 in stores.  That amount is later credited to your account to make the card reader free.
  2. PayPal is one of the most commonly used methods of taking payments. If you’ve purchased anything from eBay, you have a PayPal account. With the PayPal mobile app, you can take payments with a card reader or transferred from an attendee’s PayPal account. PayPal charges a fee of 2.7%, and you can have access to those funds the day you take payment.
  3. GoPayment is a great option if you use QuickBooks for your business books. GoPayment is also free, but working with QuickBooks is the major difference between this app and the others. Find out more info at GoPayment.com to see if this is the right card reader for your event.

All of these apps work with an Apple or Android device, and that’s great flexibility for whoever is helping take payments.

In the interest of fair disclosure, I’ve only worked with Square. It was quick to learn and easy to use, but what we found was it took longer to get our money. When we tried to contact them to ask about that, no one returned our email. When using an app like this, finding a company with the best customer service is very important.

Have you used an app and card reader to take payments at your event? What has been your experience?