Such businesses are difficult to find, so my iPhone is inside a small case that opens to hold only three cards: my driver's license, a debit card and a credit card. No, it's not a man purse. It's the size of my phone, but about twice as thick. For me, it beats carrying around both a phone and a wallet.
But even with just one credit card on me, it's tempting to leave it at home and only carry my phone with me.
When I go to a business with a mobile card reader, I'm looking for one that uses Bluetooth technology to connect my mobile phone to its credit card reader so that the credit card stored on my phone can be seamlessly and securely used.
I'm looking for Bluetooth for two reasons: So I don't have to carry a physical credit card with me, and so I don't have to use the chip in the card and spend an inordinate amount of time at the cashier.
There's also a third reason, which I really did't think about much until I went to Europe last summer for vacation: High merchant fees for using a credit card.
The mobile card reader from SumUp seems to solve all of these problems. Here's how:
Credit card fees usually aren't passed directly to consumers, but any shopper knows that the fees merchants pay to accept credit cards are included in the cost of doing business and are ultimately included in the prices of its products and services.
I try not to use credit cards for small transactions, knowing that the business will pay a small fee for the convenience of letting me use a credit card there. It seems silly to use a credit card for a $5 purchase.
A low-cost swipe machine can cost a business from 3-4% per transaction. Some charge termination and paperwork fees. SumUp's EMV card reader charges a 2.75% credit card processing fee on each transaction, and doesn't have monthly costs or delivery fees.
While I don't pay such fees directly as a consumer, they're in the back of my mind when I visit a store, especially an independent one that may be a family's sole income. This was especially apparent last summer when I went to Europe on vacation and found that I needed to use my credit card a lot more than I planned because getting cash from an ATM was more difficult than I thought it would be.
Whenever I'd pull out my credit card, especially at small businesses, I'd sometimes get a roll of the eyes from the business owner, who either didn't accept credit cards or accepted them reluctantly. The credit card fees were a headache, I assumed. Instead, they preferred cash.
I want to earn credit card awards as much as the next guy, but inconveniencing small business owners shouldn't be part of that computation.
No physical card needed
Whether on vacation or in my daily life, I like to travel light. A phone is almost a necessity throughout the day, but a wallet and credit cards aren't because my phone can securely hold a digital version of my credit cards.
The mobile card readers from SumUp allows customers to swipe, use a chip or pay with their phone. Just tapping your phone to the SumUp card reader gets a transaction going.
Mobile payments are only increasing, so this seems like a natural fit for any business that wants to grow.
The SumUp EMV card reader is also secure. It uses computer chip technology on Europay, Mastercard and Visa cards — called EMV cards for short — to protect against fraud.
Each card insertion generates a one-time code that's then used to approve payment. U.S. merchants that use EMV card readers are in compliance with recent rules on credit card payment security, and aren't subject to liability costs if they're defrauded while using an EMV card reader.
Keep the line moving
This is a minor complaint, but many EMV card readers can clog up a line at the cashier. If you've used a chip in your credit card instead of swiping the card, then you've probably experienced this slowdown.
A good EMV terminal should be faster than using cash. SumUp's EMV card reader is fast, and it's also easy for a mobile business to use anywhere they can get a mobile phone signal. The reader fits into a pocket and is about half the size of a mobile phone.