Mobile POS System Benefits: Save Time, Money, and Headaches
- Payment Processing
6 min. Read
Last Updated: 05/09/2023
Table of Contents
Credit card processing is an important part of sales for small-business owners. In a digital world, a mobile point-of-sale (POS) system can simplify the process, saving you time, money, and headaches.
Small-business owners are busy people, often juggling multiple responsibilities throughout the day. And while sales (and processing them) drive a business, the paperwork and recordkeeping can be a time-consuming, disorganized mess, especially for business owners on the go. If this sounds like you, a mobile POS system could be the answer to your small-business, credit-card processing woes.
What Is a Mobile POS (mPOS) System?
As noncash, noncontact transactions continue to grow in popularity, even the smallest businesses might need to consider how they can accept credit card payments. A mobile POS is one solution that offers portability and flexibility when accepting customer payments. Mobile POS systems typically operate through a handheld or lightweight payment terminal, or through an app installed on your smartphone or tablet. When using a tablet or smartphone, mobile POS systems may also link to a credit card reader. As your business expands, you can use mPOS systems to accept more than credit cards. Increased functionality adds the ability to accept digital wallets and QR codes to facilitate payments.
The latest mobile point of sale systems provide an inexpensive option for small businesses looking to accept credit card or digital payments on the go. They also work well for restaurants by allowing customers to order and pay on their own, before picking up their food at the counter. Mobile payment systems can also support out-of-office sales for photographers, home improvement contractors, or vendors at farmer's markets.
How Does Mobile POS Work?
Cloud-based mobile POS systems use Wi-Fi or cellular data to process payments. Digital wallet payments can also be accepted using near field communications (NFC). Payments are accepted using a mobile payment terminal that gives customers a variety of options from cash to credit cards and digital wallets. To get started, you can simply download the required software and link a card reader to your phone or tablet.
What Are the Benefits of a Mobile POS?
No one wants to lose a sale because of the inability to process a payment. Using mPOS you can work with your customers in any location and bring your business to them. In the past, concerns over data security and the high cost of mobile processing may have caused small-business owners to shy away from this type of payment system. Today, these systems provide a relatively inexpensive option for safer payment processing.
Some of the many benefits of mobile POS systems include:
Conduct business through a phone or tablet app that can be downloaded and installed in minutes. User setup is also easy and mobile payments can be quickly connected to your business bank accounts.
In the midst of a daily rush, you may not have time to record all the pertinent information for every sale. A mobile POS records the information you need at the time of purchase. You'll no longer waste time on the backend looking for credit card processing slips, client records, or the particulars of a transaction jotted down on a paper-based invoice or handwritten note. A mobile POS autosaves and backs up all your payment data. This allows you to reconcile your sales and prevents the loss of vital information.
You want a payment system that can grow with your business. With a mobile POS, it's easy to add additional tablets at your take-out counter when you notice an increase in wait times. As you hire new employees, you can add them to your payment system to give them the capability they need to do their job.
The lightweight hardware used in a handheld POS system is specifically designed for on-the-go utilization. The ease of portability means you'll always have the ability to accept payments from customers and never miss out on a sale.
The latest generation of mobile POS technology further cuts down the time it takes to process a transaction. Faster checkouts will decrease your customer's wait to pay. This limits the number of sales you might lose due to high demand or long lines.
If you want to start simply, you can find a basic mobile payment service that works within your budget. By using your existing technology, such as a smart phone app, you might not even need to invest in new hardware. The value return in additional payment capabilities plus the added security of payment transactions can easily outweigh the costs to use a mobile POS service.
Keeps Information Organized
Accounting is one area of business that greatly relies on organizing transactional information and details for later use in financial and tax records. It's also been an area that can easily overwhelm busy small business owners with the sheer volume of information to track.
A mobile POS system helps simplify this process. Using a handheld device like an iPad®, business owners and staff can record all sales as they occur, updating customer information in real time. Records such as sales, returns, voids, and discounts are available at the touch of a button. Touch-screen access and easy to navigate menus make it easy to organize and access inventory information and small business credit card processing records whether you are in your place of business or out on the road.
Saves Owners and Employees' Time
Another one of the benefits of mobile POS systems that goes hand-in-hand with better record keeping is the time it saves. As information is updated in real time across the system, each member of your sales team can find what they need to know quickly, cutting down on the time spent on phone calls and listening to or answering voicemail. And because the information may be centralized on one server or may even be cloud-based, you don't have to visit a specific terminal to review the data you need.
Reduces Overhead Costs
One of the reasons accounting has the potential of being an organizational nightmare for business owners has been federal and state requirements to keep paper records for many years. Now, a move to a mobile POS means a significant reduction in not only the amount of paper used for accounting, but also in the cost. As businesses moved to automate accounting systems with desktop computers, laptop computers, servers, and cloud-based accounting solutions, overhead costs have been greatly reduced. Purchasing a few tablets and a mobile POS system for small-business credit-card processing transactions may be cheaper (and simpler) for business owners than their previous options—reducing overhead costs.
Improves the Overall Accounting Plan
In addition to all of the benefits one of these systems may bring to processing credit card information, mobile POS systems can benefit your overall accounting process. They simplify the transfer of information from the transactions themselves into the records required for monthly bookkeeping and annual financial and tax recording. This saves not only time and money, but headaches for small-business owners and their staff.
What Is the Difference Between a POS and an mPOS?
The mobility factor is the greatest difference between a POS and an mPOS. A POS system captures information at one point of sale—generally through a single payment terminal. This capability works well for businesses operating in a stationary location, such as a retail shop. But what about traveling businesses, such as contractors, food trucks, or mobile pet groomers? A mobile POS system grants them the ability to process a sale immediately rather than billing on the backend and spending time collecting payments.
How Much Does a Mobile POS System Cost?
Basic mobile POS systems are very affordable for small businesses. A cloud-based mobile POS system for a small company with a low payment volume could cost less than $200 per month in transaction fees for processing debit and credit cards. The individual price components for a mobile POS system can include software costs, hardware costs, and payment transaction fees.
Software costs include the cost of an app, which is sometimes offered for free. Once the software is downloaded, you'll pay a monthly subscription fee to use the service. This subscription fee generally includes software updates. Your payment service provider may have more than one subscription plan offered at different rates, so it pays to evaluate the incremental services and fees associated with each option to determine which one works best for you.
Hardware costs cover the price of equipment such as a mobile payment terminal and a swipe / chip card reader. Some mPOS system providers allow you to bundle the cost of renting hardware with monthly subscription fees. If you'd like to purchase hardware separately, a card reader usually costs less than $100. You can connect the card reader to your phone or tablet, or you may want to purchase a tablet to use just for taking payments. If you'd like to use a multifunctional payment terminal rather than your phone or tablet, you can purchase that directly from your mPOS system provider. You may also need a scanner to read barcodes, or a receipt printer.
Transaction fees are charged per payment. Typically, this is a flat fee such as ten cents, plus a percentage of the overall transaction price.
Optional fees for add-on services may also apply, should you choose to add them. This may include data reporting, loyalty program administration, or inventory management. As your business grows, the optional services can help you manage your business more efficiently and provide the data you need to make strategic business decisions.
Help Your Small Business Grow With a Mobile POS System
If you frequently accept payments out of the office, or work in a food service environment that could benefit from self-serve kiosks or a portable payment device, you may want to consider adopting a mobile POS system. As your business expands, a mobile POS system gives you the capability to accept a variety of payments both in and outside your primary location. At some point, the costs of turning down customers at a mobile point of sale could outweigh the monthly expenses associated with a mobile POS system. As your customer base widens, you can build onto your mobile payment system by adding devices and terminals, or increasing functionality.
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