Small business owners looking to ditch traditional credit card readers have more options than ever.

Online retailers Amazon and Etsy are just two of the latest companies to offer mobile credit card readers to small companies, joining the likes of Square, PayPal and Intuit. Mobile credit card readers are small devices that stick into a smartphone or tablet and allow credit cards to be swiped and accepted from anywhere. Small business owners say mobile readers can be cheaper than traditional in-store credit card readers, which often charge higher fees.

Businesses need to do the math to see if using a mobile credit card reader is cheaper than a traditional one, says Todd Ablowitz, president of payments consulting company Double Diamond Group. Bigger businesses that accept a lot of credit card payments may find traditional credit card terminals cheaper in the long run. They charge monthly fees, but they generally take a smaller percentage of each transaction, sometimes below 2 percent, says Ablowitz.

Not all card issuers will be offering chip-based cards right away, Ablowitz says, so small businesses will have to decide if they want to make the switch based on how many chip-based cards their customers start to use.

The New York Times, January 7, 2015
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