Mobile Card Readers Let Any Business Accept Plastic – Even Those On The Go!

A 2010 Federal Reserve study showed an increase in the percentage of consumers making non-cash payments. They found consumers reaching to plastic alternatives like debit, credit and pre-paid cards instead. If you’re a small business owner who has relied on paper currency, it’s time to update your technology and offer customers payment options that work best for them. If you’re unfamiliar with mobile card readers, let me introduce you to Capitol One’s option – Spark Pay.

  • Spark Pay is a free mobile app that is compatible with Android devices, iPhone or iPad
  • After you download the free app, Capital One will send you an encrypting card reader in the mail – also free
  • Use the card reader to safely swipe customer credit cards for payment
  • The fee for the services ranges from 1.95% to 3.70% per swipe, depending on the plan you choose

In addition, here are six features of Spark Pay that may work for your business.

  1. Easy Transactions: With Spark Pay you can manually enter the sale amount, set the tax rate, add tips, or also create an inventory of your items. With the inventory set, you can even scan the bar code of items when you make a sale.
  2. Emailed Receipts: Once a transaction is processed, you can send an emailed receipt to your customer. Even better, you can customize your receipt to have your business logo, address, map and links to your social media.
  3. Set Multiple Users: Your Spark Pay account can be linked to other users, which is beneficial if you have a sales or service team that requires multiple payment centers. When a second user joins your account, they get their own card reader to use, but all scanned sales will go back to your main account.
  4. Sales Reports: The app allows you to see reports and graphs related to your sales. You can choose date ranges or search particular days. Also, if you set multiple users, you can track each person’s sales performance on the Spark Pay app.
  5. Offers: This part of the Spark Pay allows you to create offers for your customers. For example, you can reward a loyal customer by emailing them a 20% off coupon, or you can link your offers directly to your social media for all fans to take advantage.
  6. Support: All of these options are nice, but if you can’t figure out how to use the app, there is no point! Luckily Spark Pay has a dedicated customer service team that is available 9am to 9pm on weekdays and 9am to 5pm on weekends. If you don’t have an urgent question that requires a phone call, you can also search the FAQs, email your question, or send the question via Twitter.


Spark Pay is one of many options when it comes to mobile payment devices. Competitors include Square, Intuit, PayPal Here, and Pay Simple, among others. Although they all have similar features, they do differ based on the plans they offer, the presence (or absence) of a monthly fee, and the percentage fee per swipe. If you’re a small business that doesn’t take credit cards – or an owner who wants a better option – evaluate your options and let this new technology help increase sales.

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Jennifer Peaslee

Jennifer has a Masters in Sociology from the University of Notre Dame. She is currently working as a freelance writer, editor, blogger and researcher.

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