Accept Credit Cards Via Smartphone at Your Next Event

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Portable event barrierYou’ve planned the event, scheduled the venue and launched the marketing campaign. Now it’s time to make sure you get paid. With the right tools, you can accept cash and credit no matter the size of your event. Mobile credit card processors are changing the way small businesses accept payments, and they can provide your attendees with a convenient way to purchase goods.

In July, eMarketer reported that U.S. mobile payments would top $1 billion in 2013 and reach an estimated $58 million by 2017. Now is the time to jump on board the mobile-payment bandwagon. Not only will you prove your tech chops, but you will also get more attendees to your events.

How it Works

Smartphone users carry high-speed computers in their pockets, and a simple plug-in device can turn them into full-service POS stations. Mobile credit card processing providers usually include a free card reader that plugs into a headphone or charging jack. Download the corresponding mobile app to sync the reader with your account information, and then, you can swipe credit cards straight from your smartphone, process payments within the app and even send receipts via email. Providers take a small percentage of the transaction, and the major providers encrypt their systems to protect customers.

Mobile Payment Providers

There is no shortage of players in this burgeoning field. From young upstarts to established payment processors, plenty of providers are competing to transform your phone into a credit card reader. They each offer subtle differences in pricing and features.

  • Square: The first and most prominent mobile credit card processing provider is Square, a San Francisco-based tech company founded in 2009. Square is set to process $15 billion in payments in 2013, according to It charges 2.75 percent per swipe works with iOS and Android devices.
  • Intuit GoPayment: Merchant services provider Intuit brings a wealth of experience to this new technology. Intuit provides the typical card reader and app, but raises the bar with flexible payment options. At $12.95 per month, Intuit cuts your transaction rate to 1.75 percent. Standard transactions cost 2.75 percent. GoPayment also enables you to sync your Quickbooks small business accounting software, a seamless convenience for Quickbooks users.
  • Paypal Here: This leader in online payments undercuts the competition with a 2.7 percent transaction rate. Paypal also enables small businesses to connect multiple card readers to the same account. If you’re hosting an event with multiple entrances, you’ll appreciate the convenience.

Other Options

A mobile credit card option may be the most convenient way to accept funds, but it’s not the only way. Event planners can also set up an e-commerce platform for attendees to pay online. Paypal or another merchant services provider can equip your site with a secure shopping cart. All you need to do is attract visitors. You can also set up a traditional POS system at your event, but you’ll need the proper equipment and a power source.