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Show Me the Money!

Andy’s Apps

by F. Andrew Taylor

If your tradeshow involves actual orders of goods or outright sales, you need a secure way to accept payments. Paypal has been around for 20 years, so it has name recognition, but in your customers’ minds it might be thought of as the thing your “artistic” aunt uses to take payments for her gum wrapper sculptures on Etsy. Venmo, another well-known mobile payment app, really isn’t appropriate for business. It’s great for splitting a lunch bill with a friend or colleague or paying the yard guy for pruning your begonias, but not suitable for corporate work. Also, it’s PayPal, literally. Same company. If you’re going to take credit cards in your booth or tradeshow, you need to take a look at these options.

Fattmerchant Mobile
If your business is high volume, Fattmerchant may be the app you’re looking for. It has very transparent pricing, which will show you all the financial breaks you’ll get for big sales, but if you use the app infrequently and for low sales, those breaks aren’t there. For those who are processing a lot of sales, it’s a solid, robust app that can be expanded to include extra features as the business needs expand. It’s also known for being a very secure service.

Leaders Merchant Services
Now there’s a name you can set your watch to. It sounds reliable. In practice… well, it’s actually pretty reliable. Transparent fees which can be considerably lower than other point-of-sales apps. This is actually the mobile app for a more intense credit card processing and sales service. With its service you can do things like make direct deposits to employees and the system is set up to provide small business loans. Secure sales and reporting tools make it a multitool of a system. Chances are if you’re using this system, several layers of corporate approval were required to do so. It’s not an app for a casual user, but very useful for a serious business.

Square is, by far, the best-known point-of-sale credit card processing app. Chances are that coffee you got this morning was processed through a square reader or POS register. Square has its own reader that you attach to your phone, either through the earphone jack or Bluetooth. It’s so well known that many other apps use Square’s hardware or compare themselves to Square when explaining what they do. Because it is so well known, your customers are likely to trust it and not balk at letting you run your card through your phone or smart device.

It does have its downsides. The fee per transaction is on the high end and users report a greater number of disputed transactions, which can be partially explained by the ubiquity of Square, which is used by businesses ranging from fancy boutiques to hot dog stands to, well, that “artistic” aunt of yours. When is she going to get a real job anyway?

F. Andrew Taylor is an award-winning journalist, artist, photographer, cartoonist and illustrator working for alt-weeklies, tourism publications, hyper-local papers and others. He is also the illustrator for “Christmapus,” the tale of the Christmas Octopus. His first fiction prose story was published in 2018 and was featured at the Vegas Valley Book Fair. He also works in film production, does local historical research and has been an amateur stunt driver and rodeo participant. Contact him at fandrewt@exhibitcitynews.com.

This story originally appeared in the Sept./Oct. issue of Exhibit City News, p. 14. For original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecn_sept-oct_2020

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