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Taking Mobile Payments With iZettle

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For many small businesses and freelancers, the only way to take credit card payments was with specialized Point of Sale equipment or through the use of online payment processors such as PayPal or WorldPay. Thankfully, times have changed.

With smartphones and tablets (as well as widespread availability of internet access), we now have personal, convenient payments options. Using inexpensive accessories with your mobile gadget effectively replaces an outdated, cumbersome processes.

In this tutorial, you'll learn how to set up an iZettle account and start taking payments using your mobile device. Discover how to make the sales experience better for you and your clients.

The Problem

The problem with traditional card readers that you often use in your local coffee shop or restaurant is that they're very basic. You put your card in, the amount is entered and then payment is taken, providing you with a small printed receipt that you'll likely throw away almost immediately. There's no real interaction and considering how much businesses can be charged for the use of such devices, they can be expensive as well.

In addition to their simplistic feature set, you need to have a brick-and-mortar building from which to conduct your business, since these devices need a dedicated connection to your payment provider. Being freelancers, we don't tend to run a store or office from which we take payments.

Many of us simply work from home, the local coffee shop or even conduct our business directly at our client's location. In these situations, we usually have to turn towards online services such as PayPal or Stripe. Whilst these services have enabled millions of us to be able to take credit card payments, they're not ideal. We usually have to create and customize a dedicated portal for our clients to make payments.

Introducing iZettle

The problem with traditional card readers that you often use in your local coffee shop or restaurant is that they're very basic.

Square is perhaps the most popular example of a new breed of payment services, It combined their free card reader and a beautifully crafted app to create a truly magnificent payment experience. Unfortunately their service is only available in the US and Canada, leaving the rest of the world unable to take advantage of their service.

Fortunately, Square isn't the only company offering mobile payment services and, thanks to iZettle, mobile payment is now available in the UK, Mexico and parts of Europe.

At present, iZettle is available for use in the following countries with more being worked on:

  • United Kingdom
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Mexico
  • Norway
  • Spain
  • Sweden

iZettle doesn't charge a monthly fee, simply taking a small percentage of each transaction you make. This varies depending on how much you intend to charge per month and can be between 2.75% to 1.5%. For example, If you were to take £5,000 of payments then you're transaction fees would be 1.92% which works out at £96 per month.

The Card Reader

Here in the UK and most of mainland Europe, there are two types of credit card authentication: Chip and Signature and Chip and PIN. Here in the UK especially, Chip and PIN is the de facto method of payment when it comes to purchasing items in shops, bars and restaurants. This involves the payment device reading the chip that's located on the credit card and then entering a 4-digit PIN number.

Contrary to popular belief, Chip and PIN hasn't completed replaced the more traditional signature method of authorizing card payments but rather it's preferred. Chip and Signature still allows customers to pay and sign to validate the payment instead. Although aimed at those with difficulties in using PIN numbers, almost anyone can use it.

iZettle offers a wireless Chip and PIN card reader at £99. Compared to the offering by Square in the US and Canada, it's certainly a lot more expensive than free! This card reader, however, is more advanced. That £99 gets you quite a lot of features, most notably, the card reader is wireless, using Bluetooth to connect to your iOS or Android device.

Up until recently, iZettle had offered a Chip and Signature device at just £20 that would connect directly to the headphone jack, similar to the Square reader. It appears that at the time of publication, iZettle have temporarily discontinued the cheaper Chip and Signature device. In my experience, it took several weeks to receive my card reader since iZettle were struggling to keep up with demand.

You can also use their service without a card reader in instances where you may not have it with you. You're charged a higher percentage and limited to the amount you can charge.

Registration

Should you decide to purchase a card reader from iZettle, you'll need to register a new iZettle account. You're given the choice of registering as either a private account or business account. Choose your account type carefully as you cannot change this at a later date. In most use cases, you'll likely want to register as a business account.

Once selected, you'll need to provide iZettle with all your business information such as business type, registered address, company details and bank information.

The Dashboard

Once registered, you'll be able to log in and access your Dashboard. From here, iZettle provide some useful information as regards to the next steps you need to take.

Buy a Card Reader

If you registered an iZettle account without purchasing a card reader, this will be the first step to take. Clicking on this option will allow you to order a card reader,

Verify Your Bank Account

Your next step will be to verify that the bank account information you entered is correct. Until this is done, you won't be able to withdraw any funds from your iZettle account.

Unlike services such as Google and PayPal that deposit a small amount with a verification code, iZettle require you to send a small transaction to them. This deposit will then be added to your iZettle account after it has been verified.

Setting Up the App

It's time to start taking payments! To do this, I'll be demonstrating the iZettle app for iOS and using it on an iPad with a Chip and Signature reader.

Download the App from the App Store

You can download the iZettle app from either the App Store or Google Play. Once downloaded, launch the app and log in with your account details.

Adding a New Product

The iZettle app lets you add a list of products that you might sell regularly. Whilst it doesn't offer any inventory control it does mean you won't need to keep typing in product names should you sell a certain range of items.

The Product Library is currently an iOS-only feature for now, with iZettle working on bringing it to Android in the near future.

Let's add a new item to our Product Library. Tap on New Product and then enter the name Coffee. Since coffee can come in different sizes, we can add something called Variants that allows us to add custom options, such as sizes. Set the price for each variant accordingly, along with a name.

You can also take a picture of a product and attach it to a product which will be displayed as the product's thumbnail, making it easy to find visually.

Selling a Product

Tap on the new product we've just created, you'll see a menu appear asking you to select the size of coffee we want to sell. I've chosen small as that was the cheapest product variant I created.

As soon as you add a product, it then appears in the right column. You can amend the quantity or add another. Additionally, you can apply a discount should you need to.

That's all there is to it! Tap Charge and you'll be then prompted to connect the card reader.

Notice that you can take a manual card payment by entering the card number (should you have forgotten the receipt) and you can also take cash payment. This is very useful for retail stores as it means you can use iZettle for cash transactions. You're not charged any fee to do this but iZettle will still track the transaction to make bookkeeping easier.

Before we continue, there's the option for Visa Payment. This is applicable only when you're not using the Chip and PIN reader. Visa's requirements for iZettle to work in this instance is different than other credit card companies and the customer requires a smartphone. Should you select Visa, you'll then enter the customer's mobile phone number where a text is delivered with a link to a secure checkout page. It's a little bit inconvenient which is why having the Chip and PIN reader makes more sense. As I'll be using a MasterCard then I can continue.

Taking Payment

For the Chip and Signature reader, you can either have it attached at all times or only attach it when needed. As the card reader isn't plugged in, I simply plug it into the headphone jack and select that I'm going to use a card reader.

Now it's simply the case of inserting or swiping a card and after a few moments, the card payment is approved.

To ensure that the cardholder's card was used legitimately, we have to capture their signature. On the next step, the customer simply signs by using their finger on the iPad's display. If you prefer, you could invest in a stylus that is compatible with capacitive screens to make signature input more accurate.

Receipts

iZettle's primary method of providing a receipt is to email them to the customer. When you do, the customer can instantly have a digital record of the transaction, their signature, the date and time as well as an embedded Google Map showing the exact location of the transaction - very cool!

Additionally, you can also print a receipt. Traditionally, receipt printers are difficult to set up and costly to purchase. Luckily, iZettle supports AirPrint so you can use any AirPrint-compatible printer. Whilst an A4/US Letter receipt may not be ideal, it is certainly cheaper than a dedicated receipt printer.

Opting for email is the best option as the customer is emailed an exact copy, along with all the additional benefits mentioned above. If nothing else, email receipts help reduce the amount of waste and is much kinder to the environment. What's more, customers can then share what they bought and where on Facebook directly from the receipt - potentially leading to more customers for you.

Payment History

You can view all the transaction you or your business have performed with iZettle through the Accounts section. From here, you have access to a number of different options.

Tapping on each transaction reveals more detailed information, including the ability to re-send (or re-print) a receipt as well as reverse a charge should you need to refund a customer.

iZettle for Businesses

With an iZettle account registered under a business, you can have multiple users associated to the account, meaning you can have multiple devices and card readers all work simultaneously. If you're a busy store then having an iPad and card reader for each member of staff would allow them all to make transactions.

You can add additional members of staff via your iZettle account that allows them to process transactions but not make any changes to details such as bank information or editing the Product Library.

Security

All transactions are performed safely and securely so customers can be safe in the knowledge their card details are being looked after. From their point of view, you as a business never save their card information and it is automatically redacted.

What's beneficial to you is that all your transactions and Product Library are safely kept within your account. You can use multiple iZettle devices and have the same product library across all of them. Should you ever need to replace your smartphone or tablet, just sign in to iZettle on the new one and instantly continue where you left off.

Wrapping Up

With an iZettle card reader and smartphone or tablet, you can process all your transactions quickly and easily. This card reader is packed with useful features. iZettle is a better selling experience for you and your customers, providing a great solution for many businesses.

Further Reading

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