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Should You Use a Personal Mobile Device for Your Company's Mobile POS?

Mobile credit card processing is on the rise, with some experts predicting the number of mobile point-of-sale (POS) devices to increase nearly 400 percent from 2013 to 2017.

But what is driving this trend?

  • Speed is one major factor. Mobile POS transactions are as fast as traditional credit card terminals and much faster than paper-based checks.
  • Mobile credit card processing also allows merchants to conduct business anywhere (i.e. point-of-sale transactions are no longer tied to any single location). This makes the technology ideal for fundraising and other off-site events.
  • Lastly, upgrading to mobile credit card processing is relatively affordable. The hardware add-ons (i.e. readers) that fit into pre-existing mobile devices are cheaper than stand-alone credit card terminals.

This last point is critical. If you already have a tablet or smartphone, you can begin accepting mobile payments fairly quickly — even when using your own devices.

So the question is, should you use a personal smartphone to process business-related transactions?

There are certainly benefits to this approach. After all, you don't have to invest in as much new equipment if you already have tablets or smartphones lying around. And if you're like most Americans, you probably have your personal phone with you at all times — making it easier to process unanticipated sales.

But there are also disadvantages.

The Dangers of Using Personal Mobile Devices for Company Business

As a general rule, it's best to keep personal and business-related aspects of your life as separate as possible. This applies to things like banking and credit card purchases (even if you operate a home-based business). But it also applies to physical items like cars, computers and, yes — mobile devices.

But why make this separation?

There are several key benefits, including:

  • Easier accounting. Tracking expenses becomes much simpler when you have dedicated tools for personal use and dedicated ones for business purposes. This is especially useful around tax season.
  • Easier maintenance. When using personal mobile devices in the store, who is responsible for breakages and malfunctions? Should the company cover 100 percent of wear and tear, 50 percent or 0 percent?
  • More transparent liability. If and when credit card fraud happens, who is responsible? Will the banks care that the mobile device used is the sole property of one of your employees? And can you legally mandate that each personal smartphone undergoes periodic security checks?

Let's expand on this last point a bit.

What happens if the mobile device in question is no longer in the store? You own the phone, you’re at a party and someone manages to steal the device (or the information on it). All this happens off-site and after business hours. How do you ensure 24/7 protection of customer data in these circumstances?

Mobile PCI compliance rules are already complex. Why make it harder for yourself?

Invest in a Corporate Mobile Device for Store-Related Transactions

As you can see, blending personal and business is both time-consuming and costly. You're better off buying a dedicated phone for mobile POS transactions. It's an investment, but it's also a deductible expense (like mobile credit card readers are). And unlike a personal phone, you don't even need to buy a data plan for your in-store devices. As long as your store offers Wi-Fi access, you can keep carrier charges to a minimum.

To learn more about mobile credit card processing at BluePay, click here.

Topics: Mobile Payments, Payment Technology

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