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Then and Now: Mobile Credit Card Processing Keeps Evolving

Before cell phones, mobile credit card processing meant lugging a mechanical credit card machine with a supply of carbon credit card forms to your booth at the county fair or antique show. To process charges, you had to place the card in the machine and make a carbon copy of the card, manually write in the amount of the sale and tax, and have the customer sign the slip. After the show, you would bundle all of the sales slips and mail them to the credit card company, which would credit your bank account — sometimes not until 30 days later.

Not exactly high tech.

Not only was such a process cumbersome and slow, but since all transactions were offline, there was no way to know if the customer had enough credit on his or her card for the purchase, or whether it was even a valid card. The potential for fraud in such a system was considerable.

Today, processing credit card charges at an offsite location is as easy as turning on your cellphone or mobile device. By using a mobile merchant account, vendors can simply key in the credit card information and the amount of the sale is instantly verified and deducted from the customer's credit balance.

With mobile credit card processing via smartphone or tablet, you can swipe credit cards, issue instant refunds, and email receipts to your customers – all from the palm of your hand. Best of all, the process helps to protect against fraud and gets your money to you much more quickly than the old system — usually in a matter of two to three days.

When you look at mobile credit card processing has evolved, it's difficult to imagine how offsite vendors had to work just a few years ago. Thank goodness for mobile technology.

Topics: Mobile Payments

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