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Have you ever
had to turn a donor away at an event because you could only accept cash or checks? With mobile payment
processing tools, you can
accept donations from anywhere, at any time. Not sure what your options
are? We've compiled tools and resources on mobile payments from TechSoup and
beyond and explain some of the technologies out there.
You may have heard some buzz around Near Field
Communication (NFC) and Google
Wallet or have seen it at your local drug store or cafe. This technology
basically turns your phone into a credit card, allowing you to make payments by
simply touching your phone to an authorized hub. Google was an early adopter of
the technology, including it in its Nexus handsets and Android
operating systems. Google Wallet is currently only supported on the Sprint
NFC functionality in their mobile OS with Windows Phone 8, as well as the Windows 8 operating
system. The Wallet hub in Windows Phone 8 supports multiple NFC payment
NFC has been
a slow to catch on in the United States because there is a fairly limited need
for it. With ATMs on every corner and many stores supporting credit card
transactions, there's not a huge advantage to paying with a phone over plastic.
Also, one major U.S. smartphone doesn't support NFC: Apple's iPhone. In Africa,
however, NFC and other mobile payment systems have been quite popular as they
don't require bank accounts or Internet access.
Right now, NFC
doesn't seem like a viable technology for nonprofits to adopt for fundraising. A couple years ago, there was some excitement around the possibility
to process donations made at check-out registers. Despite the cool factor of paying
with a phone, the technology is not as widely-supported as other payment
methods. File this technology under your "trends to watch" list.
most low-risk--way nonprofits can take advantage of this technology is
through payment processing tools. Essentially, these tools turn your mobile
device into a credit card terminal, making them ideal for bake sales, auctions, concerts, and other away-from-the-office fundraising events. The
card readers generally plug into the headphone jack of your smartphone or
tablet. Before purchasing a payment processing tool, however, you'll want to make sure that it
supports the operating system of the phone or tablet you plan on using for
Here are a
few tools we recommend:
Ginny Mies is a Content Curator at TechSoup Global.
Thanks for the round-up, Ginnie! A friend of mine has a literary magazine that she runs called Paper Darts, http://paperdarts.com, and they use Square at all of their events. I've also seen more and more restaurants around the Twin Cities using iPads in place of traditional cash registers. Really interesting trends happening.
Just be sure that your mobile payment provider of choice is PCI compliant (google it if you aren't familiar). I know that Square is. Actually, I believe built-in PCI compliance is an advantage of most of these mobile payment options. The provider will usually spell out whether they are complaint in their security features section. Also be sure to set up separate accounts for mobile payments so that your main accounts aren't at risk of being compromised!