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May 8, 2011

Mobile Payment Tools Which You can Use for Business

Mobile payment systems look to be the future of commerce. Here are five of the premier mobile payment tools your business can start using right away.
Will cash and credit survive the Digital Age? According to a new survey conducted by Mobio Identity Systems, 94 percent of North Americans would be happy to complete payments through their phone if they knew the system were secure.

Most merchants and small businesses choose to only accept cash or check to avoid paying the extra fee attached to processing a credit card. But now, a handful of mobile technology companies have devised cheap and simple mobile payment solutions to accommodate those small businesses that could not traditionally afford to accept credit cards.

Considering the efficiency and affordability of these systems, even for the smallest of businesses, mobile payment systems might just be the future of commerce. 
Here are five of the top mobile payment solutions currently available. 

1. Obopay :-

Strengths: Customization, Availability
Available On: Every mobile phone, including smartphones
For: Non-profits, and small and medium-sized businesses

Carol Realini, an accomplished entrepreneur and technology expert, retired in 2000 thinking she'd never work again. But during a volunteer trip to the African Congo, Realini witnessed several Congolese paying for prepaid phone minutes with bricks of cash. That's where she realized that most of the world is still dependent on cash, but more importantly, most peoples of the world currently own cell phones.

"Cell phones are really simple," Realini says. "Everyone's got them—even in places like Africa, India, and China—and people really trust them as a tool for communications, so it's only natural that they'll extend to be trusted for money."

Realini came out of retirement and launched Obopay in Redwood City, California, in 2005. The big idea was to create a mobile payments system that would replace cash and check by allowing people to send or receive payments over their phone. In this way, businesses can take electronic payments on their cell phones, making checkout and payment faster and easier for customers.

Obopay's strength is that its platform is supported on every type of mobile phone, from traditional feature phones to smartphones, and spans from personal payments to business payments. For individuals, Obopay supports transfers from bank accounts, debit, and credit cards; for small businesses, Obopay supports a multitude of ways to accept payments, including through social networking sites, text messaging, smartphones, or in-store payments.

In addition, Obopay provides flexible options for payments, so if the merchant doesn't want to pay the small transaction fee, they can ask their customers to pay a small convenience fee instead. The option of charging customers a convenience fee, rather than having the merchant subsidize every fee, is a great option for non-profits taking donations.

"We don't think anybody has the complete toolkit we have," Realini says. "We give merchants a much more comprehensive solution and the different ways they can get paid."

2. Intuit GoPayment :-

Strengths: Customer support, seamless integration with Quickbooks
Available On: iPhone 3G/3GS/4, iPod Touch, Android, Blackberry
For: Small businesses and field trades

Intuit, a finance and marketing service provider based in Mountain View, California, processes about $17 billion each year through its Payments Solutions division. About two years ago, Intuit launched its GoPayment program for small businesses to expand their payments processing solutions to mobile phones. This way, even when you take your business out on the road, you can still take payments.

"We're addressing the people who weren't able to accept credit cards in the past, and making it drop dead simple," says Mary Lunneborg, senior product manager at Intuit. "There's many complexities to the payment processing space, and we're trying to make it really easy to sign up, make it really easy to process payments, and make it really easy to get paid."

After signing up for a merchant account, Intuit will send you a free card reader that's used in conjunction with the mobile application. Then, it's as easy as swiping the card through the reader, entering an amount, and charging it. The pricing plans are flexible, and there's no set limit on how much money you can process.

"We pretty much design GoPayment to meet the needs of your business," says Sharna Brockett, senior PR manager for payments at Intuit. "If you tell us your peak season is during Christmas time and you're selling wool blankets and you're going to be processing $5,000 a month, that's what we're going to set your limit to."

As Intuit is responsible for accounting software such as Quickbooks, Quicken, and Turbo Tax, GoPayment users enjoy an added bonus as it is the only mobile solution compatible with Quickbooks. If you're one of the four million small businesses that uses Quickbooks, you won't have to re-enter your transactions when you get back to the office. Read more on Inc

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