Mobile Credit Card Processing - The Complete Guide

Building loyalty as a business means meeting your customers where they are, especially where payment options are concerned.

Concerns about public health during the pandemic led to digital and contactless payments soaring in popularity, with mobile-based payments leading the way. In 2021, the global mobile payment market was worth $1.97 trillion, a sizeable increase from $1.54 trillion in 2020.

Mobile payment systems are revolutionizing how consumers pay for goods and services. The ubiquity of smartphones allows shoppers to make secure in-person and online transactions in real-time, without the need for cash or cards.

In this blog, we’ll explore the benefits of mobile payment solutions, and what types of mobile payment systems are currently available on the market. We also share are top tips for what merchants should consider when choosing a mobile payment system for their business.


  • Mobile payment services allow merchants to accept payments from consumers using mobile devices.
  • Mobile payments offer a high level of convenience and security to both consumers and merchants, in-store and online.
  • To choose the right mobile service provider, merchants should consider fees, integrations, security, and customer support.

What is a Mobile Payment Service?

A mobile payment service is a payment solution that allows payments to be made or accepted using a mobile device. Mobile payments can occur within physical storefronts, via eCommerce websites, or in-app.

Mobile payments will typically involve one of several technologies, including Near Field Communication (NFC), QR codes, or SMS messaging.

Mobile payment solutions offer a high level of convenience and security to merchants and consumers. Shoppers don’t need to carry cash or physical cards on their person while visiting a store that accepts mobile payments, while merchants can reduce their reliance on expensive point-of-sale systems that offer slower payment processing.

Why Do Merchants Need a Mobile Payment Service?

Mobile payments are growing in popularity

The smartphone revolution has seen consumers increasingly rely on their devices to manage everyday tasks—even replacing long-held habits such as credit cards and cash.

A convenient and affordable payment option for both eCommerce and in-store purchases, mobile commerce is experiencing a rapid uptake amongst consumers. According to Money Merchant, 25.7% of consumers worldwide use mobile devices to complete payments, which is forecast to reach 33.4% by 2024. By accepting mobile payment options at your business, it’s far easier to attract a broad range of customers.

Mobile payments allow you to accept payments anywhere

Traditional POS systems can be heavy and difficult to move around within storefronts, making sales channels such as tradeshows, events, or pop-up stores difficult to execute. A key advantage of mobile payments is that you only need a small plugin to turn your mobile phone or iPad into a payment processor for contactless payments. With this functionality, your business can process credit card payments virtually anywhere, without the burden of expensive hardware.

Mobile payments offer good security

Although there are concerns about the security of mobile payments, the right mobile payment solution can make these transactions far more secure than cash and checks, or even card transactions. In fact, mobile and digital wallets have a 99.6% lower chargeback volume than traditional credit cards.

Contactless payments using Near Field Communication (NFC) employ tactics such as secure encryption and fingerprint authentication to initiate transactions, which minimizes the risk of fraud. Because mobile payments are digital payments, this also avoids the loss or theft of revenue within storefronts.

Learn More

Different Types of Mobile Payment Solutions

Mobile wallets

A mobile wallet is a digital wallet that allows consumers to store credit and debit card information on their mobile devices. This information can then be used to make in-person payments using credit card readers enabled with NFC technology. The consumer simply has to open their mobile wallet, choose the appropriate debit or credit card, and hold it near the contactless card reader until the payment is accepted.

Card numbers and other payment information are securely encrypted to prevent theft, in the case of the loss of a device. Popular mobile wallets include Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.

In addition to standard Mastercard or Visa cards, mobile wallet apps may be used to store other kinds of payment information, including loyalty program information, gift cards, or discount coupons. This flexibility has caused mobile wallet usage to surge, with 60% of consumers surveyed by card-issuing platform Marqeta saying they would feel secure leaving their home with just their phone and no physical cards.

Peer-to-peer payment apps

Due to the sometimes restrictive nature of bank transfers, peer-to-peer mobile payment services have sprung up to make it easier for consumers to make money transfers between friends and family. These apps work by linking a user’s account with a bank account or credit/debit card, allowing them to receive or request transfers in real-time with minimal transaction fees. Some services also allow consumers to make online payments using their account balance. Popular peer-to-peer apps include PayPal, Venmo, and Zelle.

SMS mobile payments

An SMS mobile payment service, also known as Text to Pay, allows a merchant to invoice a customer using their phone number. First, the merchant sends a secure payment link to facilitate a transaction. The customer then enters their payment information, often using a prepaid card or mobile wallet.

SMS payments are widely used in developing nations, where many consumers don’t have access to traditional financial institutions or major credit cards. Other benefits are that SMS payments can support multiple payment types, and offer merchants an all-in-one payment processing and invoicing solution.

QR codes

QR code payments are a contactless payment method where a customer scans a QR code generated by the merchant with their smartphone. This directs them to a unique payment page. The customer then enters their payment details or chooses a mobile wallet and completes the payment.

Although not widely used within Western countries, QR code payments are very popular in Asia, especially in China and Japan. QR codes work well within storefronts because more than one customer can scan a code and complete the payment at a time, which frees up staff time and reduces queues at the checkout.

Mobile payment readers

A mobile payment reader attaches to a smart device, such as iPhone or Android, to enable businesses to accept card payments without needing a full POS system. Mobile payment readers can accept a combination of contactless, magnetic stripe, and EMV chip card payments, depending on the provider. This liberates retail employees from the checkout and allows them to meet customers wherever they are in a storefront or event.

Top 5 Mobile Payment Services on the Market


Offering a full suite of advanced payment processing solutions, the Stax mobile app enables businesses to send invoices, generate sales reports, and make better business decisions with real-time data in addition to simply accepting payments.

Merchants using Stax can connect with any Bluetooth-enabled mobile card reader to accept swipe, chip cards, and NFC-enabled payments away from their point of sale, liberating staff from behind the checkout. Moreover, Stax offers a range of native integrations with popular business platforms, including Quickbooks, Xero, and Hubspot. This eliminates the need for merchants to juggle multiple systems to run their business; with Stax, you get an all-in-one mobile solution that covers all the bases.

Apple Pay

Due to its high market share, the Apple Pay mobile wallet comes as a standard payment option on most mobile payment systems, which makes it very easy for merchants to accept these payments in-store.

With strong encryption and minimal fees for merchants and customers, it’s a must-have for large and small businesses. Moreover, Apple doesn’t charge merchants any fees for accepting mobile payments; the only fees you have to pay are the interchange fees from credit card companies.

However, Apple Pay only operates on iOS devices, meaning businesses must make other mobile wallet options available for Android-using customers. Apple Pay can also accept mobile payments online, so customers won’t have to dig out their credit cards to make purchases.


An all-in-one digital and mobile wallet option, PayPal is easily one of the best-known payment providers. Accessible through both a mobile payment app and web browser, PayPal is more or less an expected feature at eCommerce checkouts globally.

Thanks to its acquisition of the Zettle POS system, PayPal also offers in-store payment capabilities in the form of card readers and full terminals that accept a wide range of payment methods, including major credit cards and NFC-based mobile payments such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. However, it’s worth noting that PayPal charges high fees for refunds and chargebacks, which can make it an expensive mobile payment system to run.

Google Pay

The main competitor to Apple Pay, Google Pay’s mobile wallet and checkout plugin is the go-to for Android device users. With many consumers already logged onto their Google accounts when shopping online, accepting Google Pay for eCommerce purchases presents an easy, convenient option for customers.

A secure and widely-used payment in-store option, using a combination of Google Pay and Apple Pay for your mobile POS ensures that you have the most popular payment methods covered in your storefront. However, it’s worth noting that, unlike Apple Pay, consumers using Google Pay do not have to provide any authentication such as face ID or fingerprints to make purchases, and only have to hold their device next to an NFC reader. This makes it slightly less secure than Apple Pay.


A peer-to-peer mobile payment app, Zelle is designed to make it seamless to move money between accounts at different U.S. banks, which can concur high fees. Instead of just a standalone app, Zelle also sits inside most major U.S. banking apps as an additional service for money transfers.

Zelle is a great option for service-based businesses that want a simple way to invoice and send payment requests to customers, as it costs nothing to use. As a mobile payment option, it’s easy for clients to make payments on the go rather than waiting until they get home. However, Zelle only facilitates bank account transfers, and cannot accept credit card or digital wallet payments.

Factors To Consider When Selecting a Mobile Payments Service Provider

Fees. Different mobile payment providers use different fee structures for their services, so it’s important to compare fees to find the most cost-effective option for your business. For example, some providers will charge monthly fees to access a range of services, while others charge on a per-transaction basis depending on the payment type.

Security. Choose a mobile payment system that has appropriate security measures in place to protect your customers’ sensitive information. This includes PCI compliance and strategies such as tokenization at the point of sale to ensure card information is hidden from fraudsters.

Integration capabilities. If you’re using other business or accounting software for your business, it’s a good idea to look for a mobile payment service that offers a seamless integration to streamline your operation and avoid needing to manually transfer data from one system to another.

Customer support. A reliable mobile payment service provider is one that can provide 24/7 support, in case you encounter any issues or have questions. In addition to channels including live chat, phone, or email, look for extensive help guides that allow you to troubleshoot problems independently.

Final Words

As smartphone penetration continues to grow, more consumers are becoming aware of the convenience and security they provide as a payment option. For merchants, implementing a reliable mobile payment service provides a more efficient, streamlined payment process that improves the customer experience both online and in-store.

With mobile payment acceptance fast becoming an expectation by shoppers, staying ahead of the curve ensures you can keep delivering the service your customers expect. Check out Stax to find the ultimate all-in-one mobile payment solution.

Request a Quote