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Tired of dropping off checks and cash at the bank? Good news – you don’t have to.

Small business owners and freelancers rejoice, for your smartphone – the thing you already use for communication, schedules, and organization Can You Run Your Business Purely From Your Smartphone? Can You Run Your Business Purely From Your Smartphone? Read More – can also be used for payment processing. Check out these apps below for some fast ways to accept payment on your phone.

Square

Using a small (literally) square device that plugs right into your iPhone’s headphone jack, you can swipe credit cards just like the fancy card reader machines in retail stores. Square take 2.75% for every swiped transaction and 3.5% plus 15 cents for each manually entered transaction. On the other hand, you can pay $275 a month to use the service (that’s ideally for businesses who are raking in the cash) with the same 3.5% plus 15 cents for each manually entered transaction.

By signing up on the Square website, you can have a Square Reader sent to you for free in the mail. Alternatively, some retail stores carry them for a small fee.

  • Availability: International, but transactions can only occur in the country you set up your Square account
  • Platforms: iOS, Android

PayPal Here

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Furthermore, if you would like to spend your money immediately rather than wait on it to transfer to your bank, you can get the PayPal merchant debit card that allows you to spend money directly from your account. All in all, the PayPal app has some great features, but the way the company treats its customers may be enough to stay far, far away.

  • Availability: United States, Japan, Hong Kong and Australia
  • Platforms: iOS, Android

Google Wallet

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This, of course, requires them to use Google Wallet, but other than that, it’s pretty useful. What also makes Google Wallet different is that it charges you to send money but never to receive money. Fees are also a tiny bit heftier than other services: 2.9%.

  • Availability: International (list of countries)
  • Platforms: Android (does not require a NFC-eligible device)

GoPayment

Those of you who use Quickbooks are already familiar with Intuit’s excellent financial-related apps. That said, the company also provides an app and reader combination that’s quite similar to Square and Paypal’s mobile payment apps: GoPayment. Generally speaking the app offers some better rates (and security) than the others.

For instance, the app charges a standard 2.75% fee per transaction. However, if you opt to pay a monthly fee of $12.95 – which is pretty decent – GoPayment only charges 1.75%. It all really comes down to how much you use the device, but for those of you who only accept a moderate amount of mobile payments (as opposed to a large or small amount), GoPayment may be useful.

  • Availability: USA, Canada, UK (as Intuit Pay)
  • Platforms: iOS, Android

Dwolla

Dwolla is a unique app that allows you to accept payment without any credit cards or blood contracts whatsoever. By joining the Dwolla network, you give only one entity your banking information. When you accept payments, they pay using Dwolla (which means they use their account and send payment via email). The company charges 25 cents for every transaction (which can be an incredible deal), and for transactions under $10, there’s no fee whatsoever.

The catch: not everyone uses Dwolla, and in order for transactions to be successfully completed, both parties must sign up for account.

  • Availability: USA
  • Platforms: iOS, Android

SumUp

SumUp is another app with a card reader that you can accept payments on, and as with the others, it’s primarily targeted at small businesses and freelancers. The app takes only 2.75% of each transaction, and there are no monthly options or extra fees. However, the card reader itself is £19.95.

The app provides a fantastic interface, providing a visual experience that lets you post images of items and prices right on the screen. This could be useful for both you and the customer.

  • Availability: Europe
  • Platforms: iOS, Android

iZettle

iZettle is yet another card reader app, but it’s a bit more unique than the others. With iZettle, the more you sell, the lower the percentage per transaction you end up paying. This is handled on a sliding scale, but everything is handled at the end of the month. For instance, each transaction during the month is at 2.75%, but at the end of the month, you will receive a refund based on how much you have sold.

For customers not using the card, transactions are £0.10 + 3.50% – pretty hefty. Also, the card reader is much more expensive, but at the same time it has a few more advanced features (such as a wireless connectivity and a screen). This comes in at £82.50, but in the end may be worth the investment.

  • Availability: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Mexico and Brazil
  • Platforms: iOS, Android

Conclusion

Above are five of the best apps and services we’ve found for mobile payments. Each one has its pros and cons, but they all essentially serve the same purpose. Your choice will inevitably boil down to two things – regional availability and fees, so pick wisely.

What other mobile payment apps do you use? Have you had good experiences with these apps?

Image Credits: Coins falling Via Shutterstock

  1. TheGhostHybrid
    September 24, 2013 at 5:19 am

    It may be worth mentioning that Google Wallet doesn't charge fees at all if you link your bank account instead of using a debit card. *shrug* I just sent $10 to my sister using it and neither of us were charged a single cent in fees.

    Of course, linking your bank account requires identity verification, but I think it's worth it to avoid fees.

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