Not every small business needs a storefront. For some jobs you have to go where the clients are, because that’s where their car broke down, that’s where their pipes are leaking, or that’s where the event their hosting will take place. Many business owners in these industries don’t even have an office, especially since electronic bookkeeping lets you keep track of your profits and losses from a laptop powered by your van or truck.
Of course, a setup like this means you don’t have a big, bulky cash register handy, and so these businesses usually don’t have money on hand to give as change for a cash payment. That’s why personal checks are still a popular way to pay a mobile contractor like a tow truck driver or a home electrician. However, merchant processing technology is using more mobile technology these days and making it easier for businesses like caterers and food trucks to accept cards and electronic payments. These days, card readers barely need to be bigger than the openings for the card’s magnetic strip or chip, a keypad for entering PIN numbers, and small printer for creating receipts. You can also get an accessory for a smartphone or tablet that lets it accept card payments, and clients can use its screen to type in a PIN or sign their name. These advances are useful both for businesses and for clients. Clients can pull a card out of their wallets instead of getting their checkbook and writing out a new check, and the businesses will get their payments right away instead of needing to go to the bank and waiting for the check to clear. By using a cellular connection, the payment processing can happen right on the spot. Another benefit of modern technology is the fact that the cost of these devices is much less than you might expect. Many merchant processing companies include device rentals with the processing contract, and so you can take your credit card processing on the go as soon as your reader arrives. Personal checks have always been a hassle, and there’s always a chance of losing one before you can take it to the bank, and so many companies have stopped taking them altogether. Mobile businesses have needed to accept checks even after they started going out of fashion, but thanks to modern technology even these companies can take cards and electronic payments without having to bring clients back to the office.