One of the issues facing solos and small firms is processing credit card payments. Both PayPal and Square are good options, depending on your personal preference.

For BlackBerry users, however, a new credit card reader called ROAM looks like a darn good option.

How it works

Similar to Square, ROAM is a little device that plugs into the audio jack of your phone—but it only works with BlackBerry phones. When you swipe a credit card, ROAM converts it into an audio file, encrypts it, and sends it to your phone. An app on your phone translates the date and makes it easy to process payments.

While some of you might be thinking “BlackBerry, schmackberry,” BlackBerrys account for approximately 30% of the smartphones in the country. Even though I live in an iPhone world, it is hard to ignore that large of a market share.

Should you use it?

ROAM has an advantage because it works with BlackBerrys, which are considered to be more secure than iPhones and other popular smartphones. When it comes to clients credit card info, the more security, the better.

There is no cost information available yet, but I am assuming it will be comparable to Square. Square charges $.15 cents plus 2.75% per transaction. The only issue with Square is that it pulls the fee from the transaction, instead of a separate account. That means you are technically misusing client funds off the bat. It is not clear if ROAM will have a workaround for this problem.

My biggest concern is usability. I have never liked BlackBerrys for anything more than email. The screens are tiny and navigating is a pain—usability is a big thumbs down in my book. That said, if you like your BlackBerry, this looks like a great product and can help you process client payments easily and securely.

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