It’s no secret, the world as we know it has gone mobile. As a small business owner, you can’t let the mobile bandwagon pass you by. You need to jump on it. Particularly when it comes to accepting mobile payments. Tune in and join Jeff Brathwaite, Founder of Mobile Payment Power, and Brent Leary as they explore and compare mobile payment options such as Square, PayPal, Groupon and more.
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Small Business Trends: Can you talk a little bit about how you got into mobile payments?
Jeff Brathwaite: It was a combination of two things. I speak regularly. I go out and I do certain things in the field. So I needed something that allowed me to sell my wares and I had nothing.
Small Business Trends: Where are we at today with mobile payment? How big it is right now?
Jeff Brathwaite: In the next three years, we are going to be at one trillion dollars when it comes to mobile. Mobile has taken off to the point where so many of the stores that were doing ’Black Friday’ apps had an advantage when it came to mobile. So yes, within the next three years, we’re talking about a trillion dollar business.
Small Business Trends: Can you talk a bit about Square?
Jeff Brathwaite: They are popularizing payments via smartphones and their device is what really makes it happen. The device, called the Square, is basically a small little device that pops right into the ear phone jack of your smartphone or tablet devices.
You have the app on your phone. You call up the app, login, and then swipe a credit card and you get your payments within 24 to 36 hours, right into your bank account.
Small Business Trends: What kind of transaction percentages are they taking?
Jeff Brathwaite: They are taking a 2.75% per swipe with Square. Some of the others have a lower rate and some have a little bit higher.
Small Business Trends: Who are the players in this space?
Jeff Brathwaite: Recently, Bank of America decided to do their own version of Square. PayPal decided to get into the arena about a month and a half ago. You’ve got Groupon that is in it right now as well and Intuit, too. The last one I just got in the mail is PayAnywhere. There are many, many others that are coming into it.
Small Business Trends: How does a small business choose what service is best for them?
Jeff Brathwaite: Square has the least barrier of entry to accepting credit cards via the smartphone.
Small Business Trends: When you say “barrier of entry” what are we talking about?
Jeff Brathwaite: Meaning, it is the easiest way for one to accept the credit card. You can buy one of these squares in an Apple Store, or Walgreens. You can just walk in and purchase one. You can actually create the account within five minutes and you are up and running and accepting credit cards.
Small Business Trends: What company is more rigorous to get up and running?
Jeff Brathwaite: I would say Bank of America. They are the most traditional since they go through the process of a credit app.
Small Business Trends: So you can’t get up and running in 15 minutes?
Jeff Brathwaite: No, you cannot.
Small Business Trends: What if you are trying to look at the best transaction rates or the lowest cost involved?
Jeff Brathwaite: Well, the lowest rate right now is actually Groupon. Groupon has a 1.6% for MasterCard and Visa. They have a different one for Amex but they are all much lower than what you have on Square.
Small Business Trends: Which one allows you to get your money quickest?
Jeff Brathwaite: PayPal is the fastest. As soon as you swipe, that money is in your PayPal account. Of course, if you have a bank account and you transfer the money into it, that takes two to three days.
Small Business Trends: Are there any restrictions in terms of the amount of the transaction that you can handle?
Jeff Brathwaite: Yes, there is. When it comes to this particular industry, they are looking at smaller transactions. They are not looking at the high dollar figure. So if you go borderline in terms of a thousand dollars or more per swipe, I would say you’re going more traditional when it comes to needing a merchant account. If you are doing things let’s say $20, $30, even $100, these are pretty much good-to-go per swipe.
Then some of them have limitations based on if you don’t swipe. They will allow you to take credit cards without having the actual credit card. For instnace, if you receive it via fax, phone, or whatever. So you can accept those credit cards and punch in the information. There is a different rate for that and that is also capped with some of these devices.
Small Business Trends: Is there a minimum amount?
Jeff Brathwaite: No, that is the beauty of having this. There are no monthly fees, no minimum fees and no maximum fees.
Small Business Trends: Which one offers the best customer service? Because we all know this stuff does not work all the time.
Jeff Brathwaite: Square is the worst. They are the best when it comes to the low barrier of entry, but they are the worst in terms of customer service because they do not have phone support. It’s all email. I had a situation where I was back and forth with them via email and it took almost a week and a half to resolve the situation.
Small Business Trends: Just out of curiosity, what was the dollar transaction?
Jeff Brathwaite: It was a $1,000.
Small Business Trends: If you just started out today, knowing what you know now, which one would you use?
Jeff Brathwaite: PayPal. Because the barrier of entry is not bad. If you have a PayPal account, you’re good to go. You can get a PayPal device inside of a store. They have them in AT&T stores and there is phone support. And they have a 2.70% rate as opposed to 2.75%. So it’s cheaper than Square.
Small Business Trends: Where can people learn more?
Jeff Brathwaite: You can go to MobilePaymentPower.com.
This interview about accepting mobile payments is part of the One on One interview series with some of the most thought-provoking entrepreneurs, authors and experts in business today. This interview has been edited for publication. To hear audio of the full interview, click on the player above.