Illustration of a customer taking advantage of mobile payment methods by using their mobile phone to check out at a store’s terminal.

Mobile payment methods: A small business guide

Mobile payment meaning

An electronic payment made through a mobile device, such as a phone or a tablet.

As a business owner, figuring out how to get paid is just one of the many important decisions you have to make. Getting paid can be even more complicated when you have a hybrid business where you accept payments in-store, online, and at job sites or pop-up markets. 

While there are many small business payment methods to help you collect payment from your customers, mobile payment offers a lot of flexibility. Accepting mobile payments lets you bring your business to your customers in a way that wasn’t possible before.

Types of mobile payments

Illustrated chart covering 4 ways to accept mobile payments, including a cellphone for mobile wallets, a mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) system, two phones for mobile peer-to-peer apps, and a phone and terminal for near-field communication (NFC).

Mobile payment methods aren’t one-size-fits-all. People use peer-to-peer apps to send money to people they know while customers can send money to a business using mobile wallets, mobile point-of-sale systems, and NFC (near-field communication) mobile payments. Each method has advantages and disadvantages that your business should consider when deciding which to accept.

NFC mobile payments 

NFC (near-field communication) is a type of contactless mobile communication between devices in close proximity that allows for the transmission of information. It is available in most modern credit card terminals and allows people to make payments using smart devices. Once a total is provided, the customer moves their device close to the terminal to send payment. NFC doesn’t just work with smart devices—some credit and debit cards have tags that allow you to use them with a tap.

If your business wants to use NFC to accept mobile payments, you’ll need a card reader or terminal equipped with NFC technology. 

Mobile wallets

 Illustrated chart covering how to accept mobile payments from customers using mobile wallets with illustrations of a cell phone, bank building, terminal, and online store website, as well as common mobile wallets including Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and PayPal.

Mobile wallets are services that allow a customer to link their small business bank account, credit cards, or debit cards to their connected devices so they can pay for goods and services without having to carry around a physical payment method. 

Some of the most common mobile wallets are:

  • Apple Pay.
  • Google Pay.
  • Samsung Pay. 

Customers can use these mobile wallets to make purchases on e-commerce websites. They can also check out at brick-and-mortar stores by tapping their watch, phone, or tablet on an NFC-compatible terminal.

If you have an online store, add these wallets to customer carts or online checkout processes. If you have a physical store, many newer credit card terminals include NFC technology that lets customers pay with a mobile wallet.

Accept payments anytime, anywhere

No matter how your customers choose to settle up, track payments in one place and make managing your business finances easier than ever.

Mobile point-of-sale systems (mPOS) 

An mPOS (mobile point-of-sale system) is similar to a traditional point-of-sale system in that it consists of software and portable hardware. You can install the software onto an existing tablet or phone, or it can be a part of a specialized package with proprietary hardware. With an mPOS, a business can accept payments in multiple places.

Several companies offer mPOS setups for a variety of business types. Using the QuickBooks Card Reader and GoPayment app, you can take payments nearly anywhere from customers with credit cards and popular mobile wallets like Apple Pay.  

To start accepting payments with a mobile point-of-sale system, you’ll need to find a payment service provider that offers them and then integrate them with your existing systems. 

Mobile peer-to-peer apps

Mobile peer-to-peer apps let people transfer money from their connected bank accounts to other users. Some of these apps (PayPal, for example) can be accepted by businesses on e-commerce sites or for in-person services. 

Cash App, PayPal, and Venmo are popular examples of mobile peer-to-peer payment apps.

To accept payment via these apps at your business, check to see if they allow for integration into your e-commerce site or if they can be accepted using terminals or mPoS systems.

How to accept mobile payments

Accepting mobile payments is relatively straightforward for new and existing businesses. 

If you’re starting a new business, check with prospective payment service providers about their mobile payment options. When you decide on a provider, you’ll need to create a merchant account and link your business bank account to start taking payments.

For existing businesses, if you’re happy with your current payment service provider, reach out to them to learn about their mobile payment options. If they don’t offer mobile payments, consider a secondary provider with those options. You’ll have to create an account with them, connect your other accounts, and integrate the new processor into your website or retail location.

Benefits of mobile payments

llustrated chart describing three benefits of accepting mobile payments including speed, security, and convenience with an illustration of a person holding their mobile phone over a terminal.

While there is an added expense to getting these services up and running, there are a lot of benefits of mobile payment systems for business owners and for customers. 


Mobile payments might actually be safer than other payment methods because they don’t provide card numbers and names to merchants. Because customers use their phones and other devices for more than making payments, they’re less likely to forget them at a store.


Mobile payments are getting faster and faster as mobile speeds and internet speeds increase. New NFC systems are faster than older models, saving customers time during checkout. 

If you have a small staff and/or a high volume of customers, processing payments as fast as possible can keep your customers (and your staff) happy. 


Mobile payments are convenient for customers because they provide another way of paying. With a mobile system, a customer can make a purchase even if they’ve forgotten their physical card. 

Accepting mobile payments helps your business by removing another potential barrier to conversion.

Choose the best payment setup for your business

Each business is different, so when deciding which mobile payment setup is best for you the types, benefits, and costs involved. You have various options for accepting payments—consider the speed and security, but also ease of use for your customers. 

With QuickBooks Money, you can accept mobile payments from Apple Pay, PayPal, Venmo, credit card, and ACH transfers. You can manage many of your business’s financials directly from the app, and it integrates with other QuickBooks products for a streamlined system for managing your money.

Mobile payment FAQ

QuickBooks Money: QuickBooks Money is a standalone Intuit product that includes QuickBooks Payments, and currently does not connect with other QuickBooks products such as QuickBooks Online (and QuickBooks Checking), QuickBooks Self-Employed, or GoPayment. Intuit accounts are subject to eligibility criteria, credit, and application approval. Banking services provided by and QuickBooks Visa Debit Card are issued by Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. Visa is a registered trademark of Visa International Service Association. QuickBooks Money Deposit Account Agreement applies. Banking services and debit card opening are subject to identity verification and approval by Green Dot Bank. Money movement services, including Same Day Deposit, are provided by Intuit Payments Inc., licensed as a Money Transmitter by the New York State Department of Financial Services.

QuickBooks Card Reader: Data access subject to cellular/internet provider network availability and occasional downtime due to system and server maintenance. Product registration and QuickBooks Payments account required. Terms, conditions, and features subject to change.

Apple Pay: Apple Pay is a registered trademark of Apple Inc.

Google Pay: Google Pay is a trademark of Google LLC.

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