Stay Competitive: The Better Business Bureau Offers Tips for Mobile Retailing

January 31, 2013

CHICAGO, IL- January 22, 2013 – Increased technology has made it possible for sales to take place outside of a “brick and mortar” store. These days, traveling retailers can make a sale with just the touch of a button and the swipe of a credit card via their smartphone. These smartphone credit card readers offer new opportunities for businesses, however the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois (BBB) is advising business owners to make sure that such a system is right for their business.

“Advancements in technology are changing the way that companies do business,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “It is important to find the technology that will benefit your specific company and fit the way you do business.”

For businesses looking to add the credit card reader capability to their sales technology, BBB recommends the following tips:

·         Do your research. Just like a landline-based credit card system, you’ll need a merchant account to process payments, a scanner device to read the card, and software (app) to make it run. Don’t skimp on research. Start with your bank or your credit card service for suggestions on recommended services and devices. Check out all vendors at Ask for references.

·         Choose the right combination. Your smartphone merchant account might interface with your existing landline-based account, and that will make life easier. Build from there; find the app you feel comfortable using that has the features you want. There are over a hundred apps available for different smartphones; each is usually compatible with a number of different swiping devices. The reader itself is the last step (and the easiest to replace or exchange).

  • Read the fine print. Using a smartphone credit card reader might be a great way to increase your sales while on the road. However, make sure to read the fine print for the smartphone app to make sure that you won’t be charged while you’re not using it.

·         Offer the customer service your shoppers expect. Some shoppers may not be familiar with this kind of payment method. Be sure to offer them the option of having a receipt emailed to them, or even offer to print the receipt there with a separate smartphone printer. This will allow your customer to have a record of the transaction and reduce the hassle should the person want to return the product.

·         Beware of scams. As with any emerging technology, scammers are figuring out how to exploit vulnerabilities. Don’t buy the devices or apps from vendors you don’t know.

Visit BBB’s website for more Business Tips or join our LinkedIn business group.


As a private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop and issue reviews on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.