Mobile Payments - How to take payment via your mobile phone

When your business has no fixed address and you operate anywhere and everywhere you are needed it can cause difficulty and even lose your business some custom if you can’t put in place the infrastructure to take credit card payments. Whether you operate a pop up shop, stalls at exhibitions or any other form of business on-the-move, here are some easy alternatives for taking card payments on the go:

Chip and Pin/Chip and Swipe Hardware


Compatible with most Android and Apple mobile and tablet devices, iZettle offer both ‘chip and signature’ and recently developed ‘chip and pin’ attachments. The attachment plugs into your device and allows you to take instant payments from Mastercard, American Express, Visa and (only on chip and pin) Maestro, with a 2.75% deduction on each payment with use of the software.

In the UK, the ‘chip and signature’ model will currently set you back £20 with the offer of £20 worth of free transactions available when purchased. The new ‘chip and pin’ model will set you back £49 before VAT but is the recommended option for the UK as chip and pin is the chosen secure method as well as being fast and easy to execute.


Unfortunately still only available in the US, Square is definitely one to keep an eye out for coming over to the UK, hopefully sometime in the near future. They offer a free card reader (swipe and sign) with every sign up and the app is free to download as well. There is a 2.75% charge on all payments, but no other apparent costs and they currently accept most major credit cards.­

Online Checkout/Apps

The current common method for mobile e-commerce and apps is using ‘online wallets’ to bridge the gap when it comes to checking out fast and securely via mobile websites and apps. The downfall is that entering card details on a mobile device can be rather annoying, but once people have entered details into these apps the details are stored unless they choose to delete them, making for quicker return visits and checkouts. Here are some of the top picks when it comes to mobile checkout software:


Stripe is the fastest growing web payment software in the US, and they have finally released a beta version in the UK. Their charge is slightly higher per transaction, with 2.9% of the transaction plus a 30 cent charge on every transaction in the US version, but there are no sign up or monthly fees and you don’t have to pay for the hardware or software so it all works out worth your while, although a fixed charge per transaction may be off putting if the transactions are only small.


Accepting multiple currencies and all major credit cards, Paymill is the biggest UK competitor for Stripe. Extra features like international payments do come at a cost though, and their transaction fees are similar to Stripe, with 2.95% plus a 28 cent (euro) fee taken per successful transaction.


Offering the ability to complete the payment by adding the charge onto your own mobile phone bill is a great alternative to other mobile payment methods. It means there are no card details inputted at any time, either into a mobile wallet or at the checkout itself, making it feel safer or easier for those who are wary of inputting card details online or who have difficulty with this. The downfall is there are often limits to how much a person can spend in one transaction when done this way.


An old favourite when it comes to eBay purchases, Paypal is being increasingly picked up as the checkout of choice for many e-commerce mobile sites and apps. The fee is a little higher than other online checkouts, standing at 3% plus a 20p transaction charge, but due to its popularity, this card-less checkout method can be a selling point for people when it comes to them deciding whether to purchase via mobile or not.

Companies offering online and in-store checkouts


LevelUp is a go between when it comes to in-store payment options and mobile checkouts, bringing the best of both worlds together in one app. It has a favourable transaction fee of just 2%, one of the lowest we have seen, and allows businesses to use software to create a built-in mobile checkout in their own branded apps and/or have hardware enabling them to scan the customer’s own personal LevelUp QR code with all their details stored. Definitely one to watch, it already has over 1 million users and 5,000 merchants signed up!

Google Wallet

Paypal’s biggest competition in e-commerce, Google Wallet also offers consumers a fast and ecure way to input and save card details and pay via mobile websites and apps. It is also a contender for the NFC side of the market, with PayPass hardware available to turn mobile phones into scan-able wallets for in-store use. As if it wasn’t looking tempting enough, their transaction fees start from as low as 1.9% plus a 30 cent (USD) fixed transaction fee.

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