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Review: Kudos Mobile Credit Card Acceptance Kit

- November 30th, 2011

Kudos

Let’s face it; we live in a plastic society. When buying goods or services or even making donations today, it’s pretty much expected that the merchant or organization would accept credit cards. If you don’t you might just lose the sale.

For small businesses, charities and non-profits, accepting plastic can be very costly, with discounts right off the top, minimum monthly fees, bank service charges and a POS (point of sale) terminal. Processing & collecting can also be time consuming and an administrative headache.

And let’s not forget the additional challenges of taking payment on the road, like at a customer’s site, at a tradeshow or conference.

However, the reality is that the customer needs to be served and given options to pay, plus credit cards can save you the hassle of collecting and depositing cheques and waiting for them to (hopefully) clear.

Kudos – 1St In Canada

Regina-based Netsecure Technologies have created Kudos – mobile payment system that offers a low-cost, no hassle, easy-to-use solution to this problem and a first of its kind in Canada.

No POS terminal or fancy hardware necessary. Kudos’ mobile credit card acceptance kit consisting of a physical credit card swipe gadget that’s partnered with a downloadable app designed to work with most smartphones including iPhone, BlackBerry and most Android devices. It will also work with select tablets including the iPad.  It’ll even run on later models of the iPod touch.

Pay Only When Used

There is a one-time up front cost of $99 to purchase the kit. After that, you only pay when you use it.  The cost of using the system is quite low, only 2.9%+$0.20 per transaction (2.7%+ $0.20 in the U.S.). No contract or minimum monthly fees and you’ll get paid usually the next day.

Before you can use Kudos to process your payments and get paid you will need to set up a merchant account. The application is quick and can be found right on Kudos website.

Real-Time Test Drive

I had the opportunity to take Netsecure Technolgies Kudos for a test drive. So as not to exceed my credit card limit for frivolous purchases, I was set up with a test merchant account.

KudosJack

In the box you’ll find the Kudos swipe device. It comes in a plastic storage case and a convenient lanyard so you can keep it around your neck. To get started, simply plug the swipe into your headphone jack of your device, in my case, an iPhone 4S. You then need to turn the phone’s volume up to 100%. You’ll see why later. I found I needed to remove my phone’s bumper and be careful I didn’t push down too hard or I would power off my phone.

I downloaded and launched the iOS version of the Kudos Mobile App from iTunes and I was ready to go.  I entered my supplied user name, password and the email address I wanted to associate with the account.

kudos start

There are a number for settings you can configure. You can opt to password protect your account and drop the connection after each transaction to save airtime. You can also preconfigure your tax rate if you need to collect it and turn on the tip function if you plan on accepting gratuities.

You can also set a time delay which the device will time-out to protect you from unauthorized use.

To make a sale, select sale and key in the amount. You can optionally enter a note to go along with it. Hitting “continue,” you’re asked to swipe the card and then to authorize. If approved,  a signature line appears up where you can easily sign the “voucher” using your finger. You’re then prompted to optionally issue a receipt via email or via SMS text.

Kudos Sign

At that point you can either enter a new transaction or print a receipt to any compatible wireless printer. It’s that simple.

If you made a mistake and let say overcharged someone, refunds are easy. However, you can’t refund just the difference, you need to refund the full amount of the original transaction and then process the transaction once again.

KudosGadgetGregGazin

If card doesn’t work or if the card is not present, you can also manually enter the information, but be warned, the discount rate is a little higher.

kudosreport

You can also view a series of reports giving you transactions for different time periods.

Alternately, through a browser, you can view reports on-line, access your account and statements, customize receipts and process payments manually as well.

And in case you need help there is a live person you can call toll-free with either account or technical issues.

How the Swipe Works

How the swiper actually works is really cool and clever. The headphone jack actually powers the swiper. Then, when you swipe your card, the reader reads the magnetic encoding, grabs the information, encrypts it and then transmits it through the system similar to how a microphone accepts its input.

Accept Credit Card Wi-FI & 3G

Kudos runs over Wi-FI or 3G and supports processing of Visa/MasterCard and Amex in Canada and the U.S. The Discover Card is also accepted, but only the US. Debit cards are not accepted unless they are Visa or MasterCard branded cards.

Kudos for Kudos

Kudos is a neat little product. You can process transactions quickly and efficiently in real-time and there’s no need to lug a huge POS terminal everywhere you go. It’s secure and the fact that the data is encrypted and no credit card information is stored on the phone reduces exposure and gives consumers piece of mind. Plus, no long-term commitment is needed; you pay as you go with reasonably low transactions fees.

I had no issues using Kudos other than having to be careful not to accidentally power off my iPhone.

What I hope to see in the future is the ability to take advantage of the new chips in credit cards or the tap to pay feature we’re now starting to see on newer cards.

Regardless, it’s a great solution for small organizations and it’s Canadian!

Free Offer for Charities & Non-Profits

Netsecure Technolgies’ President Dan McCann came across a situation where he and his wife wanted to make a donation, but neither was carrying any cash. So he decided to make it easier for these fine organizations to collect donation for the holiday season.

Until December 31, 2011 or while supplies last, eligible charitable and non-profit organizations in Canada and the U.S. can request to receive a free Kudos Credit Card acceptance kit.

Listen below to an interview with Dan McCann about Kudos and how it can work for your business or download it. (13:03)

Greg Gazin is the Real Canadian Gadget Guy.

Follow me on Twitter @gadgetgreg.

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23 comments

  1. Bob | November 30, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    There is one problem with this solution. It doesn’t use EMV Chip technology. In the next year or two, Canada will have moved away from the magstripe completely and this device will be considered obsolete…

    My thoughts.

  2. Greg Gazin | November 30, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    I agree Bob, that it would be nice to see the use of a chip in this solution and I eluded to that in my post. However, for the short term, even for a year or two $99 is a good solution to help bring money in quickly and easily for small businesses & charities.

  3. Andrew Goss | December 7, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Thanks for the great comprehensive review and the interview as well. Our small jewellery-making business is switching to this system from one with hidden fees, monthly minimums and large cancellation fees. Kudos really does appear to have no other fees except the initial fee for the swiper.

    We also looked into Payfirma. Kudos and Payfirma are the only mobile CC systems we could find in Canada. Square is the one that started this, but it’s only in the US.

  4. Greg Gazin | December 9, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    THanks for the comment Andrew! Yes, there are no account or monthly fees. There is of course the cost of processing the transaction, which considering there are no others, 2.9% plus $0.20 is pretty easy to swallow and no huge machine to lug around. I did not test it on an iPod touch, but it works well over wi-fi on an iPhone.

  5. Danielle MacDonald | December 14, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    I would like to know if Kudos does work with the cards with the chips. Or does it only work if the card is one of the older ones without a chip?

  6. Greg Gazin | December 14, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Hi Danielle,

    Kudos should work with any compatible card as long as it has the mag strip on it.

    If you need more info there is a link to the company in the article.

  7. David Girard | December 16, 2011 at 12:57 am

    One point to note on the “chip” card comment. Seems like this is only a Canadian issue for now. I have US accounts and have asked my bank when my “chip” card was going to be coming ( Wells Fargo – one of the biggest banks ) they had NO IDEA what I was talking about. Evidently “chip” cards are not even on the radar in the USA – at least not with Wells. Anyone else heard differently?

  8. Stephanie Staples | January 5, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    This article made my day! Finally the answer I have been looking for for back of the room sales. Thanks Greg, for enlightening me about this long overdue product. I also feeling comfortable ‘jumping in’ to it after your reading your thorough review and recommendation. Kudos to you!

  9. Randall Craig (@RandallCraig) | January 20, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Sounds promising. Question: Our business uses Infusionsoft, and I would like to “download” all of the transaction info into this system. (Infusionsoft will then send out a digital product.)

    Is this possible?

  10. Greg Gazin | January 21, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Randall,

    I suggest you contact Kudos directly at kudos payments.ca they also have a toll free # 1-855-GO-KUDOS.

  11. Mark Strange | February 1, 2012 at 8:27 am

    I have been using it since November and every transaction has been flawless. It took a little while to arrive (the swiper) but a couple of emails helped to sort out the delay. The only complaint I have is that since using it I have had a couple of questions about viewing details of the transactions (mainly how much am I paying on each transaction because this would be a business tax writeoff0 but no one has responded after a couple of weeks. I guess a phone call might serve me better.

  12. Greg Gazin | February 1, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Mark,

    I would call their toll-free number. A live person will answer I had a question while I was testing the unit and I had an immediate response.

  13. Jordan | February 2, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    Greg, does each transaction require much data usage on a 3G plan?

  14. Greg Gazin | February 3, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Jordan, I’m not sure. I used Wi-Fi most of the time. You want to ensure you set your timeout so it doesn’t stay connected when you are not using it. If I had to guess, it shouldn’t consume too much bandwidth, you are not sending huge video files. You are orbiting data, but likely the biggest thing would be the signature. Good Question!

  15. Jean-Michel | March 5, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Thanks for the fantastic review Greg, Ive been waiting for something like this in Canada, I have friends that have been using “Square” in the USA and it has made their lives much easier RE: small business. When I emailed Square asking them when they were planing a Canadian launch, they replied they had no idea! % rates are better with Square not by much but they have no transaction Fees. everything else is the same (Except that they are not in Canada yet) lol ;-)

    Thanks again, looking forward to receive my KUDOS, jut ordered.

  16. Kray Mitchell | March 26, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Great Article Greg,
    While we are always working to add new functionality and security (Such as the chip) to our offerings, I wanted to point out that our device actually encrypts the data from the mag-reader before sending to the application for processing. We have been doing this since gen1 of our product and is something that others are just getting on board with (Square just released theirs).

    Should anybody have additional questions or concerns, they are more than welcome to contact me at kray.mitchell (AT) netsecu.re

  17. Ron | April 4, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    I know this has been asked but I want to be certain. Chip cards are on almost all cards here in Canada. Will this work for certain on all chip cards?
    If not it will be almost useless here.

  18. Greg Gazin | April 5, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    Ron,

    Speaking with tech support the chip concern depends on the credit card issuer.

    If the card is chip only, then there is an issue. Also some issuers require the reading of both the chip and the mag stripe within the reader and again yes, here is an issue. However I was told that these cases are fairly few and far between. Many issuers, for now anyway allow for use of either.

    Now in the event you get a card that is in that situation and there is a provision for manual entry, like you often do when buying on-line, then you can key in the purchase manually. Of course, this will cost you an extra 1%. bit only in those instances.

  19. Brendan Reid | April 17, 2012 at 2:31 am

    Is anyone using the SLICE device with a Samsung Galaxy S II? It’s not on the “Supported Phones List” but the Samsung Galaxy 4G is.

  20. koool74 | May 4, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Hello Everybody
    I used kudos for my business and I don’t recommend this kudos to anybody . if you use it you will be begging for your own money from them , then you will know their real face , they are just a scam and they steal or hold your money as long as they can . if they were fair why there is no contact number available on their website ??? they only way you can contact them is email . if you ask them about transactions then they will play around few days then they will tell you that processor problem then they will give you contact number of their partner in crime Pivotal payments you will spend over a week to find the right person . imagine how much stress you will get from them and they play around with your money by keeping it in the air . my only suggestion to you is do not use kudos or pivotal payments if you want to stay out of trouble . I lost $1300 and its more than a week now there is no signs of my payment .

  21. Dave | November 10, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    I have used kudos 3 times now and worked perfectly.
    All money deposited 24 hrs later into my account and is now 2.75% either swiped or manually entered !!

  22. Janet | January 13, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Hello , looking at using a Apple I Pad Air for this for Kudos device, any comments from users of I Pad Air and any new developments with this Kudos service.

  23. Greg Gazin | January 13, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Janet, Kudos’ site doesn’t specifically mention the iPad Air although it appears to be compatible with most late model iOS devices. I suggest you contact Kudos directly at kudos payments.ca they also have a toll free # 1-855-GO-KUDOS.

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