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In Tech: Everywhere Commerce

Payments are changing, and at the center of the revolution is the mobile phone.

BY THE INSTORE TEAM

Published in the March 2012 issue

Whether you are at a trade show, a craft market or doing a private visit to a client’s home, it has become a lot easier to process a credit card. All you need is a smartphone and an app. The new applications promise much more than convenience and the possibility of an offsite sale. If their backers are to be believed, they represent the future of all payments. Goodbye wallets, goodbye cash registers, maybe even goodbye merchant accounts and their multiple fees.

Here are the leading players:

SQUARE

HOW IT WORKS >> Sign up for the service, and Square sends you a free card reader that plugs into the earphone jack of your tablet or mobile phone. Download the free app, type in your banking
information, and you can be accepting payments within a minute, the company claims. After swiping the customer’s card, the sales associate sends the client a receipt via e-mail. A free software  addition called Square Register allows the user to create a loyalty program that tracks purchases.

TARGET USERS >> Initially small-business people. Eventually the world, or at least most merchants.

COST >> Card reader is free at squareup.com. The company takes 2.75 percent of each transaction.

GO PAYMENT

HOW IT WORKS >> GoPayment syncs with Intuit’s QuickBooks accounting software. A merchant account is required, which can take a few weeks to set up. Once that’s done, Intuit will ship a free card reader to be used in conjunction with the app (for Apple or Droid phones).

TARGET USERS >> Small businesses, existing QuickBooks customers.

COST >> Two plans at gopayment.com: free with 2.7 percent swipe fee or $12.95 a month and 1.7 percent swipe fee.

PAYWARE FROM VERIFONE

HOW IT WORKS >> With a solid card reader sleeve and stylus, VeriFone’s PAYware hardware for the iPhone and iPad is the most professional looking and claims to have the strongest security.

TARGET USERS >> Small and medium-sized firms.

COST >> A mix of fees based on business type, risk criteria, method of processing, etc. Check out paywaremobile.com for details.

TECH BRIEFS

SYNDICATED BLOG FOR JEWELERS
Want to keep a steady flow of fresh jewelry-related content appearing on your website but don’t have the time to write entertaining, professionalsounding blogs? Do what athletes, politicians and business leaders do and get a ghostwriter. Howard Cohen of HSC Communications is providing independent jewelers in non-competing markets with five such blogs a week.
Information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | MSRP: $50 a month

PHILIPS SPEECH MIKE
Harried businesspeople have long used smartphones and voice recorders to take audio notes to capture all the great ideas they have on the move. But sooner or later those thoughts have to be transcribed. The Philips SpeechMike is a USB microphone that takes care of the task, putting words into a text form. Its compact design also allows for “one-thumb” operation.
Information: www.speech.philips.com | MSRP: From $299

PULSE POINT STUDIO PLUS 100 LASER WELDER
The Studio Plus line is the newest generation of PulsePoint tabletop laser welders from Neutec, delivering a heavy-duty cycle that meets the work needs of smaller businesses for a more modest price.
Information: www.riogrande.com or (800) 545-6566


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