VeriFone offers an application, card reader, and payment gateway that allows the user to accept and process credit cards using an iPhone 3G or 3GS. The question is how easy is it to use and is it financially feasible.
How Easy Is It To Use
Testing a system like this in demo mode is never a completely fair evaluation because demo mode is, well, demo mode. It’s not the real thing and you have to try and make it work when it’s not really working. Because of this I had some trouble getting the system set up. The good part of this is I got to evaluate their technical support and can report that it is excellent.
Once it is set up it is very easy to use. The iPhone slides into the Payware Mobile reader which includes a swipe credit card reader. You can also key in credit card information if necessary. The mobile reader also includes a stylus (stored in the back) that customers can use to sign their name to approve their transactions.
As you can see from image 1, there are fields for the usual information necessary for processing a credit card purchase. When you swipe a credit card the necessary information is automatically entered into the appropriate fields. Image 2 shows the information you get once the transition has been approved, and image 3 shows the signature process. If you set the system up to send an email receipt to the customer, you will be prompted to get an email address and an email will be automatically created and sent to your iPhone email application for you to send.
There are administrative screens that provide report summaries of transactions, daily summaries, and other information that you program into your system.
The system takes Visa, Master Card, American Express, and Discover credit and debit cards.
The card reader automatically encrypts credit card data so that customer’s account data is never stored on the iPhone, which reduces your liability. The credit card transaction receives immediate approval or disapproval.
The iPhone app is Free. From that point your fees will depend upon with whom you contract for the gateway services. There will undoubtedly be a one time setup fee of about $49. You may be able to get the mobile carder free if you sign a two year contract. Otherwise it will be $149. You will have a gateway monthly fee that will run between $20 - $30 a month and transaction fees that may be a few cents per transaction or a small percentage of each transaction. Some gateway providers offer a special “dormant fee” that allows you to keep your account open for a small fee during the months you don’t need it if you have a seasonal business.
Can It Be Shared
One mobile reader unit can be used on more than one iPhone as long as each phone has installed the free PAYware application.
Is It The Right Choice For Me
Any small business or organization that wants to securely accept all the major credit cards, particularly those who benefit from impulse sales, should consider it. Anyone who wants to securely accept credit cards outside a brick and mortar environment should consider it. Anyone who has consistent sales month to month to assure they will meet any minimum requirements for sales set by the gateway company so that they don’t incur extra charges may find it a good solution for their needs.
The Bottom Line
I am really impressed with the PAYware Mobile app and the mobile reader. They are very easy to use. The app includes all the information I want when conducting a transaction. Not only can I get a signature, but I can automatically push a button that maps the location of the purchase in case there is any question in the future. I like the ability to email a receipt. I like how fast it is. I like the fact that sales records are retained for my use and I like the fact that I can take all the major credit cards using this one system, paying one set of fees.