The card processing companies each offer their own Bluetooth version of a handheld machine which you can rent for a small fortune on a month by month basis. Not great when we only need it sometimes!
We started looking for alternative options... and there are a wealth of new companies vying for this market (and that of small stall-holders who frequent craft fairs and farmers markets). This, apparently, is very much a growing industry!
We looked into several of them and found appeal in paying a one off fee to own the device in stead of a monthly fee to rent one. But there are several choices....
At this point I did what any self-respecting businesswoman would do... I turned to the internet forums to see what suggestions and recommendations were offered by those who had already taken this journey!
Aha! 'WORLDPAY' was the cry from the web! They are set up with all major card issuers (except American Express) and their device is almost half the price of some others! I scurried off to investigate!
Sure enough everything seemed so much more straight forward and the saving on the terminal whilst still keeping similar commission rates made it a no-brainer! The calculator-like number pad pairs up with an app on my iPhone and I merely type the amount and description on screen. The customer enters their pin and away we go... I didn't need much persuading!
It occurred to me that this wonderful machine had the potential to come in useful at other times too! Home Approvals for example!
On one of its' first outings however, my customer surprised me when he announced that he does alot of travelling and his account is held overseas therefore the chip and pin facility doesn't work in the UK! I had started with the transaction so I continued... not knowing what to expect... but instead of spitting out its dummy it merely asked my customer for a signature... on the screen of my iPhone!
Given the touchscreen nature of the phone my customer duly signed his name using his finger and (after I confirmed a match) the transaction was accepted! I typed in his email address and a receipt was emailed immediately! His phone acknowledged receipt of the email with a suitably satisfying ping!
We were both very impressed but even more so when the customer produced his own phone and showed me a confirmation from his bank that the funds had already been deducted and were winging their way to me! Remarkable!