Stacy’s Interviews – Adam Layne of mobile payment provider Phone Swipe

Mobile payment processing is one of the fastest-growing technology solutions in business these days. Our very own software queen Stacy Reed sits down with a representative of one such service, Adam Layne of Phone Swipe, to learn more about the exciting new world of mobile e-commerce.
Published: Jan 28, 2013
Author: Stacy Reed

Mobile payment processing is one of the fastest-growing technology solutions in business these days. Our very own software queen Stacy Reed sits down with a representative of one such service, Adam Layne of Phone Swipe, to learn more about the exciting new world of mobile e-commerce.

Stacy: I’m convinced that mobile payment processing is a very direct way to broaden a retailer’s market reach because they’re no longer required to be stuck behind a cash register in a shop. This frees them up to literally do business anywhere. As a user yourself, what other ways has Phone Swipe been of benefit to your business since you’ve started using it?

Adam: Years ago, when I entered the credit card processing industry, people were always amazed that I was able to accept credit cards for something as simple as a garage sale. Before mobile payment technology rolled out, using a laptop or tabletop machine was an available option, but it was not as affordable and practical as something like Phone Swipe is for me today. One of my businesses is selling art and curating events, and this product has made it possible for every aspect of my business to accept credit cards, including ticket sales, concessions and gallery purchases. It's immediate, and in a world where others would typically send someone to a cash machine with hopes that they return with money to finish their purchase, I never have to wait and wonder if they will ever return.

Stacy: I was reading Phone Swipe’s web page, which boasts that it’s great for small to mid-sized businesses as well as individuals. I can see a clear need for a tool of this nature among independent contractors, freelancers, vendors at arts & crafts shows, and conventions. Can you give a couple reasons why one should choose Phone Swipe over its competitors, for example, Square?

Adam: We have been a direct processor for Visa and MasterCard and the others card companies for over 20 years. We handle all types of ways to process from credit card machines to e-commerce websites to the Phone Swipe mobile app. People like speaking to us live and having their account and transactions pulled up in real-time if needed. Though I don't like to point out the flaws of competitors who have a similar mobile app, live 24/7 support is not available on all the broker products like Square. If they are not processing the cards direct, they have limits to how much you can process and to what information they can provide you, which means you have to e-mail your questions or issues and wait up to 48 hours for a response. That to me is not good business. If we are making the technology simple and fast, why can't the support and features for doing so be quick as well? Most of the users of this technology have never accepted credit cards before in any capacity. Our human approach is very comforting and we help make you a pro before you run your first transaction. Plus, the rates are less expensive than most of these 3rd party companies who don't offer that service.

Stacy: Does Phone Swipe take a percentage off each transaction?

Adam: Yes, we have a very simple Pay-As-You-Go program. You pay 2.69% of the dollar amount you swipe. No transaction fee, no batch fee, no monthly fee, no annual fee, and no minimum or maximum requirements. If you used it only once, you only pay for that transaction. As a direct processor for the credit card companies, we are also able to offer special wholesale discounted rate programs for larger volume businesses.

Stacy: How long does it generally take for someone who’s just applied for Phone Swipe to be accepted? And how soon can a newcomer expect to have the card reader and application up and running?

Adam: That's the good thing about this, for most applicants it's immediate. You can complete the 15 question application online at www.PhoneSwipe.com and for many applicants you can start processing the same day (manually entering the card information) until your swiper arrives. You’ll receive your new swiper within just a few days, and we provide and ship it for free to you.

Stacy: Let’s talk about security because it’s an issue I know many people have when it comes to handling finances online and it’s a valid concern. Can users trust Phone Swipe with their personal data? And how about the actual transactions?

Adam: Most definitely. As a 20 year veteran in the credit card processing industry, we have taken all steps to make sure we are always "PCI Compliant" which is the industry term for "Nothing is stored, all is encrypted for your and your customer's protection". People lose their cellphones all the time and we make sure no one can hack in and steal valuable information. Not only is the app security encrypted, but our swiper is as well.

Stacy: I read that Phone Swipe offers all kinds of reports so users can see their processed transactions right within the app itself. Would you kindly brief our readers about the type of information that’s available to them through these reports?

Adam: Within the app the user can access reports to see all of their transactions for Today, Yesterday, the Week, the Month, Top Sale items, or a custom date range based on the user's needs. We also provide an online merchant portal the user can log into for even more detailed reports, depending on how specific you want to get. Larger businesses can use it for monthly production charts, accounting and QuickBooks integration, though the smaller business or individual may just want to see batch reports and set alerts to notify their phone when money has been sent to their bank account.

Stacy: Wow, that level of integration and customization sounds incredibly helpful! Phone Swipe is available for Android and iPhone, correct? Is it compatible with tablets and other mobile devices too?

Adam: Oh yes. iPhones, iPads, Android phones, tablets, Blackberry's and even on the iPod Touch. Every day we are testing and adding new devices to our compatibility list.  Our swipers are universal and can be intermixed between devices if you use more than one for your business.

Stacy: What an exciting project to be involved with, Adam! It makes me think that maybe one day, mobile transactions will be so commonplace that every device would come standard with a card reader built in. Where do you see this technology heading in the next 5 to 7 years?

Adam: Everyone wants their phone or tablet to take the place of their computer, date book, photo album, DVD player, credit card machine, etc.  Digital wallets seem to be the next technology solution people are preparing for, which would allow all of the cards in your wallet to be digitally programmed onto your phone. When doing a transaction, all you have to do is authorize your "digital card" and waive your phone in front of a reader. It may sound silly now or a lazy way to pay for things, but think about 10 years ago and what great lengths and costs we had to go through to get things done that today we take for granted.

Stacy: Lastly, would you tell us a bit about Phone Swipe’s referral program?

Adam: Sure, as a special perk to our clients and merchants, we want to thank them for referring anyone to try our product and service. We have a simple referral link inside our app that allows you to enter the name and contact info of a friend or associate. I personally contact the referrals and walk them through the process. As soon as they start using Phone Swipe to accept credit cards, you get $20 just for providing great word-of-mouth advertising for us.

Stacy: Awesome! Thanks a lot for agreeing to participate in this interview, Adam, and I wish you and the rest of the team at Phone Swipe great success.  Developers, sign up for your free account at www.PhoneSwipe.com and make this the year you catch up with the times by accepting on-the-go credit card payments for your goods or services.

Adam Layne is a Senior Account Executive for North American Bancard, creators of the Phone Swipe and PayAnywhere mobile applications. He is a seasoned veteran in the credit card processing industry and was present and integral with the release 2 years ago when Visa and Mastercard approved smartphone users to accept credit cards directly from their touchscreen device.

About Stacy Reed

Stacy Reed is Tucows' resident software librarian and editor. She has been reviewing PC and mobile software as well as web services for over a decade. Helping developers improve and promote their products is only one of her areas of expertise. Stacy is also an advocate for Open Source, Creative Commons and freeware, taking special interest in educational resources, social media, cloud sharing, and mobile technology.

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