Taking mobile payments on a tablet or phone is a hot area of interest for small business merchants. It’s the way a lot of small businesses choose to do business these days.
One advantage is obvious. Mobile device in hand, you can accept credit card payments wherever you may be. That’s especially good for food truck operators, craft businesses and other microbusinesses without a fixed location.
Another advantage is low equipment cost. Even very small businesses and startups with brick-and-mortar locations are finding they don’t necessarily have to invest in pricey point-of-sale (POS) terminals. Set your business up with an iPad, iPhone or Android phone or tablet. Then plug a credit-card swipe device into the audio jack, and you’re good to go. It serves the purpose to get money in the door — at least until your sales volume grows.
Financial institutions are beginning to understand this, too.
PNC Bank joins the banks and independent services offering mobile swipe devices for merchants to accept credit card payments.
PNC officially launched Pogo from PNC Bank this month. The service had been soft-launched starting last winter, through the PNC Merchant Services arm.
Pogo from PNC is designed for micro-merchants that need to accept credit card payments and want to use a mobile device. “Pogo is a self-serve solution for businesses that do not process a large volume of card transactions but are in need of a card payment solution,” said David Shorten, Senior Vice President and General Manager of PNC Merchant Services.
PNC is providing the service to its customers through a strategic alliance with POGO, a service of First Data Corporation. Pogo / First Data provides the operational card processing, product solutions and customer support. Funds are deposited into the customer’s PNC bank account.
Shorten referred to Pogo as a “best-in-class service” for PNC customers. He emphasized that Pogo, unlike some competitive mobile payment services, offers 24/7 customer service via chat or phone. Pogo from PNC also follows stringent security guidelines that banks must comply with, keeping customer data secure. He noted that some solutions are unregulated and may not have the strength behind them that a financial institution like PNC delivers.
Matching the Right Mobile Payments Solution To Business Needs
In addition to Pogo, PNC offers a more robust solution (also provided by First Data) for small merchants called MobilePay.
The difference between Pogo and MobilePay lies in the needs of the customer, said Shorten. MobilePay is similar to Pogo, but “meets the needs of businesses that process larger volumes of card transactions and have a traditional merchant account relationship,” he explained. With MobilePay you can have a traditional POS solution, but also a way to accept mobile payments.
Pogo, on the other hand, is a streamlined solution intended for those without a POS system.
Pogo card transactions are batched, said Shorten. The total shows as a deposit transaction in your business checking account when the transactions settle. Access to the funds is available as soon as the next day. Paperless receipts can be sent to the customer’s email address.
At the present time, reports are available through the Pogo app. Transaction summaries can be emailed to the business daily.
There is no long-term contract to sign. The Pogo card reader is free. You can also download the Pogo app from iTunes or the Google Play store, and hand-key in transactions, although you will pay a higher rate on keyed transactions. Rates, according to the PNC Pogo website, are “competitive.”
Seems like they’re a little slow to the game here, but it’s good to see more of the large banks going this route. Hopefully the competition combines to bring down costs for SMBs.