How to Accept Credit Card Payments on Location

Square Credit Card Reader

Image Credit: bfishadow

Have you ever been at an event or trade show where someone wanted to pay for your services by credit card, but had to decline because you had no way to accept payments?

This problem may soon be a thing of the past. There are now credit-card reading devices that physically plug into your smartphone, allowing you to swipe cards and accept payments on location.

Best of all, because the technology is still so new, most companies offer the devices and services at little to no cost to the business. It’s a win-win situation.

Here’s a rundown of a few of the companies offering card-readers for smartphones.


Like its name, the card-reader offered by Square is a small, white, square device that plugs into the headphone jack of your smartphone. The device itself is free. Additionally, there are no monthly fees or merchant accounts required to use the service.

The Square service has slightly higher service fees than other companies, but because it’s essentially free otherwise, it’s great for businesses who accept payments sporadically.

PayPal Here

PayPal also offers a free thumb-sized card reader and free app that connects with your smartphone. Their fees are also similar to Square’s and they have no monthly commitment.

However, the service is on “exclusive release” now, meaning they won’t send the device to just anyone who asks. Instead, if you are interested in using PayPal’s Here service, you will need to sign up for their wait list, and they will contact you upon availability.


Intuit also offers a free mobile payment service, called GoPayment. Their free transaction rates are on par with the other two services. However, GoPayment also has a monthly plan option, where you can reduce your transaction fees by 1%, if you pay a monthly service fee of $12.95.

The monthly plan could be a great option for businesses processing a large volume of on-demand credit card payments.

As long as you have a smart phone, you have the ability to accept payments on demand, wherever you are in the world. Order one of these devices and you will never have to turn away a paying customer again.

Do you use a card-reader to accept credit cards on demand? How does it work for you? Leave us a comment telling us about it.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who enjoys helping you do business anywhere. Email:

Microsoft OneNote: Powerful Note Taking Software


Image Credit: carl.lacey2

Are you constantly chasing down notes and scribbles from random pieces of paper? Do you look at your notes and wonder what your last scribble was and why? Do you have so many notebooks going at once that you are constantly misplacing your “working” notebook and starting a new one?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, or if these questions got you thinking of a multitude of other problems when it comes to taking notes, then you should consider using Microsoft OneNote.

OneNote is a robust note taking software. Take notes on the computer, scan hand written notes, or simply take a picture of your notes – it doesn’t matter, OneNote will capture and organize them all.

You can also share your notes with your team for collaboration. OneNote allows you to share both online and across your network, allowing you maximum flexibility for collaboration.

OneNote is setup to look like a virtual notebook. You can create tabs to separate and organize sections. You can even create new notebooks for different types of work, allowing you to easily organize your items to ensure nothing is lost.

Additionally, OneNote has a host of fantastic features, making it easy to access and organize your notes, so you never miss a task or project again.

OneNote features include:


Anything you put into OneNote is automatically saved, without you having to do anything. This is a great feature when you’re in hurry, or when an emergency happens, like a power outage.

Built In OCR

OneNote has a built in OCR for scanned items or photographs, allowing these types of items to be easily searchable and editable.

Collaboration Features

Collaborate across the web, or across your network. OneNote allows you to work with others on projects and notes. OneNote allows you to track changes, so that you can easily see who has edited / contributed the notes. You can even password protect tabs, keeping sensitive data safe.

Mobile Flexibility

You can use OneNote from your computer or your mobile phone. OneNote has an app for windows-based phones, android phones, and iPhones. The app is free for the first 500 notes, after which there is a one-time fee of $4.99.

Outlook Compatibility

OneNote is cross-compatible with Microsoft Outlook, allowing you to send emails, tasks, and events into your notebooks with a click of a button.

Want to start using OneNote? It’s available with most of the newer versions of Microsoft Office, so see if it’s already installed. Or, you can download a free trial of OneNote from Microsoft here. A full license is available for $100.

Do you use OneNote? Leave us a comment and let us know what feature you use the most.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who is interested in helping you find smarter ways to use your software. Email:

Outlook Productivity Tips: Quick Access Tool Bar

Quick Access Tool Bar

The Quick Access Tool Bar (Above the Ribbon)

There is a little known feature in Outlook 2010 that packs a big punch in terms of productivity – the Quick Access Tool Bar.

Located at the top of Outlook, this menu is very unassuming. In fact, it appears only as a small black arrow with a line above it, but if you put your mouse cursor over top and hover, you will see that the label Customize the Quick Access Tool Bar appears.

The Quick Access Tool Bar allows you to pin frequently used items to the top of Outlook, so that you don’t have to spend time searching for these items in the Ribbon.  In fact, once you setup your Quick Access Tool Bar, you can even minimize and hid the Ribbon, if you no longer wish to look at it.

To setup your Quick Access Tool Bar, click on the black down arrow at the top of Outlook. From here you have two options, you can either click on any of the items shown on the list, to make them appear on your Quick Access Tool Bar, or you can customize and specify the exact buttons you want by selecting More Commands.

It is recommended that you select the items you want on your Quick Access Tool Bar from the More Commands menu, because you have a wider selection of buttons and options to choose from under this menu. This menu also allows you to easily customize the order of your icons.

You can add items from the menu one of two ways. You can either click on the item you want, and then click the add button, or you can double click on the item. You will know you have added it correctly when the item you want appears in the right side column titled Customize Quick Access Tool Bar.

To customize the order of your icons, select the item you want to move up or down on the right hand side, then click the up or down arrows, located at the far right of the screen, in the middle.

Once the Quick Access Tool Bar is setup the way you like it, click on OK, and you’ll see all your icons at the top.

If you would like to minimize the Ribbon, you may do so by clicking on the Minimize Ribbon button, which is a small gray up arrow located on the far right of Outlook, just above the Ribbon (and next to the blue help button). When you hover over the arrow, the screen tip will say Minimize Ribbon.

By setting up your Quick Access Tool Bar with your most frequently used Outlook commands, you avoid wasting time looking under various tabs in the Ribbon searching for what you need. This trick not only saves you time, but can alleviate frustration and aggravation too.  Try it today.

Do you love using the Quick Access Tool Bar? Leave us a comment telling us what commands you like to pin to your bar.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who is interested in helping you find smarter ways to use Outlook. Email: Website: