The Basics of Wireless Credit Card Processing

Merchant Warehouse |

December 10, 2010

There is a great variety of ways that merchants conduct business, including online and in-store. But for merchants who must work on-the-go and away from a base location, wireless credit card processing is a crucial part of their sales transactions. Also known as mobile commerce or M-Commerce, this wireless method has been around for a few years. The technology was initially used with wireless point of sale terminals for credit card swipes. Today, however, there are many tools in use to support these remote card-processing efforts that handle wireless Internet connections, cellular telephones and the advent of the PDA or personal digital assistant.

There was a time when solutions available to collect funds for sales orders done remotely required customers to either pay by cash, check or provide credit card information so a merchant could process the transaction later back at their base location. Of course cash and checks can get lost or stolen and credit card information can easily makes its way into the wrong hands between the time the information was recorded and the customer’s credit card was charged for the sale. M-Commerce solutions have taken a lot of the hassles out of doing business remotely. Some of the benefits include a greater cash flow, transaction credit card security, quick authorizations, reduced chargebacks, and the use of a remote device in place of telephone connections that may not be available.
In addition to the technology that allows M-Commerce to take place, a merchant, of course, must set up a wireless merchant account.

The first step in setting up a wireless merchant account is to find a wireless merchant service provider. One of the best sources to find these kinds of service providers is online, where business owners can visit the websites of banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions that provide merchant account services. Applying for a wireless merchant account only usually takes a few days.

Once an online business is approved, merchants are given the choice of equipment that they may use for processing sales. Some examples of wireless equipment include portable terminals, printers, and credit card processor that could be plugged on any outlet, all of which would be very easy to transport and set up.

Wireless credit card processing through a cell phone is probably one of more increasingly common and cost-effective ways to process cards on the road. Not only does a service like this work with cell phones, but with any standard phone.

If you have a laptop computer that is able to connect to the internet while you are operating in a mobile manner, then you can easily process credit card orders securely over any Internet web browser. As customer credit cards are not traditionally swiped, the processing fees are slightly higher because of the fraud risk. However, merchants do not incur the high cost of purchasing a wireless swipe terminal that can run hundreds of dollars. Virtual terminals are usually coupled with the purchase of a real time online processing solutions. This set-up does not require hardware or software, but simply the interfacing of an online processor that keeps records of sales and transaction information.

Some merchants would prefer to have a wireless POS swipe terminal in place of virtual terminals. Most merchant account providers can meet these wireless terminal needs. There are wireless swipe terminals available that have embedded printers and those without. Of course, this type of equipment requires hardware and software costs, and in some cases additional costs for receipt printing equipment.

The good news is that setting up this kind of account is an easy process that makes it possible for almost all business owners to conduct their business from anywhere, which can mean higher sales in the end.