I contacted PayPal and got their little blue triangle card reader for use with the “PayPal Here” application, so I can process credit card transactions while at my art booth at the local street fairs. Terrific. But how do I actually use the app for these sort of transactions?
Turns out that PayPal was paying close attention to Square, with its little white card reader that plugs into the headphone jack of an iPhone and lets merchants process credit cards on the road for a small transaction fee alone, no merchant account needed. In fact, I saw a Square unit in the wild just a few days ago: a food truck was using it for customers that didn’t have cash to pay for their pork sliders and sweet potato fries. Very slick.
To get a PayPal Here reader, you need to request one against a merchant account on the PayPal site. Best bet is to log in to your account then search for “paypal here” to get to the right place. I requested mine and it arrived within about 7 days, so it’s pretty speedy. Or, plan b, try starting here, though: More info about PayPal Here.
Until you get the reader device, grabbing a copy of the PayPal Here app (iPhone, and Android) isn’t much use as it just waits until the device is present to activate.
Once you are set up and have your account credentials handy (tip: I had to add my mobile number to my account, which I documented here: Add a Mobile Number to your PayPal Account) then plug in the reader and log in to your PayPal account on your phone. Now you’ll see a transaction amount entry screen:
As is appropriate when you’re busy trying to make the transaction quick and easy, there’s not much you can do here on this screen other than enter the amount you want to charge and tap on the really big “Charge” button. It is worth noting that if you tap on the three horizontal line button on the top left you can get to your settings and preferences (more in a bit) and if you tap on the tiny phone icon on the top right, you can access an easy calculator where the results are automatically transferred back to the transaction entry screen.
Worth noting is that once you do set up PayPal Here with the reader device, you can then use the app without the device to run different kinds of transactions where you manually enter the card. Less cool, but sometimes quite a bit more handy.
Once you’ve entered the correct transaction amount number, tap on “Charge” and…
At this point you can accept a lot of different payments and generate a record and receipt (via sms or email). Note particularly the tiny green stripe along the top. That means that the card reader is also ready, as it says: “Card reader ready. Swipe card now.”
Do that. I’ll swipe a credit card of my own too:
Customers can use their finger to scribble a signature on the touch-sensitive screen and you definitely want to collect that in case there’s a problem or issue with the transaction. Once they’re done with their signature, either they or you tap on “Complete Purchase” .
Done. Wasn’t that easy?
Even better, there are a couple of options for sending a receipt to the customer:
For demonstration purposes, I’ll choose “Mobile” and have an SMS message sent. To accomplish this neat trick, the customer needs to entire their mobile number, then tap on “Send”:
Moments later, a text message appears on their phone similar to this:
You’ll notice that it identifies my business as a blank. Not sure why, perhaps that’s a bug they’re working through? Otherwise, tapping on that URL does indeed bring up the PayPal receipt for the transaction, which is very slick.
Back to PayPal Here, tap on the three horizontal lines button and make sure you’re looking at your “Profile” information:
Here’s where you can check that you have the right business information for receipts, etc. Also notice that it shows your PayPal balance and a history of transactions you’ve done with the Here application. Handy.
Tap on the “Settings” tap at the top and there are more things you can tweak:
I’ll let you explore and figure out exactly how to configure it for your own business, but I wanted to show one more thing: scroll around on the “Settings” screen and you’ll find that you can also tweak things like whether you want a signature to be required, etc:
Kudos to PayPal for doing such a nice job with the implementation of a mobile payment processing system. If you’re someone who transacts business when you’re away from the office or store, this is a terrific solution, and is backed by the financial acumen of the PayPal company.