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According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, business owners traditionally have turned to lines of credit, loans or credit cards for the funds they need to get through a payroll cycle, or to pay landlords and suppliers. 

Ways to Make Running Business Easier and Bring in Money Faster

March 22, 2013

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According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, business owners traditionally have turned to lines of credit, loans or credit cards for the funds they need to get through a payroll cycle, or to pay landlords and suppliers. Until recently, small service companies, from caterers, to plumbers to photographers, had few options beyond billing customers and then waiting for days, or even weeks or months, for a check to arrive in the mail. Typical payment terms range from 30 to 90 days. Now, there are options.

No more waiting for a check in the mail. Here are some payment tools that are making it possible for small service firms to quickly turn sales into working capital:

  • Mobile-card readers: Known as dongles, these devices typically attach to the audio jack of a smartphone, enabling merchants to swipe credit and debit cards from anywhere. Fees range from 1.7 percent (with a monthly flat fee) to 2.75 percent per transaction to use these devices.
  • Electronic invoicing: There's a wide variety of online billing software for small businesses that can help automate invoices, receipts, collections and late notices. Offered by FreshBooks, BillingOrchard, Harvest and others. Services generally run upwards of $15 a month.
  • Photo-card processing: This iPhone app enables merchants to take a photo of a customer's credit- or debit-card digits and instantly process payments on-the-go. Offered by Flint Mobile Inc. Fees range from 20 cents per transaction, plus 1.95 percent for debit cards and 2.95 percent for credit cards.

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