There can never be too many options for small business owners and freelancers to invoice their clients and accept credit cards. I love the Square App, but the Square App is geared for in person transactions. WePay is an App and service designed to allow you to take accept credit cards by invoicing your clients. Once you generate an invoice and email it to your client, you client can click the link taking them to a secure web page where they can pay your invoice right online. Unlike PayPal they aren’t encouraged to sign up for anything or register. They just simply pay their invoice. I setup a WePay account and verified my bank account with them so that they can transfer any payments right to my account minus their 2.9%+.30¢ per transaction.
The setup process is pretty straight forward. You can chose your existing contacts to invoice. You can create items to put on the invoice with descriptions and quantities. Once you’re done entering the information you can send the invoice by email. Unfortunately you don’t have any options to customize the invoice itself. When you create your profile you can go to the wepay.com site and add your photo to your profile. While you’re on their site you can grab “buttons” to put on your site. Also you can use this App to charge a credit card directly by entering the card number and other information. There is no hardware to swipe the card though. I look at this feature more for receiving payments by physical mail for example, where the customer simply lists their credit card number for you to charge.
Like I said, I love Square, but I also like having WePay as an option.
Manually entering your contacts from all the business cards you receive is bad enough. However, trying to enter these manually via your iPhone makes it even more difficult. This is why when someone hands me a business card, I nod and thank them, but that card will only be in my possession long enough to scan it in directly via my iPhone. I’ve reviewed various Business Card Scanner Apps in the past and I would have to say that WorldCard Mobile has the most options for any that I’ve seen. It does the basics that we would all expect. It allows you to take a picture of the card with your iPhone camera and then it will OCR (optical character recognize) your card converting the picture into text and intelligently putting the information into the correct fields. The 1st card I tried was my own business card and the App got everything right except that it missed the T on my first name. That of course was an easy correction and with a couple of taps the entry was complete. I was very impressed to also see that they not only allow you to add the card to your iPhone contacts or just keep it in the App, but they even allow you to choose which Group you want to put it in on your iPhone’s contacts. That’s a 1st. I’ve not seen any other Apps to date that let you do that. Another nice feature that I hadn’t seen on the other Business Card Readers is the ability to scan QR Codes. QR codes typically take you to a website. However, there are QR codes that contain vCards or basically business cards. This kind of entry is the BEST as there would be no need to do any OCR. It also supports 16 languages, selective/partial recognition, Google Contact Sync, and a very nice ability to copy an email signature and convert that data into a contact <-slick.
Sounds good, but…
This App does a great job at what it’s designed to do, but there are some things I’d like to see in the next version. First and foremost is an update that gives us full iPhone 5 screen size support. While there is the ability to share a contact from the App via email, I’d like to see some additional sharing options such as via the Messages app. The App allows you to Add a photo to the contact just like the built-in Contacts App does. However, it also shows a picture of the card you scanned next to that photo. I’d like to see the option of making the business card image the default photo for the contact if you don’t choose or take one. Lastly a batch capture option would be nice. It would also be nice to see this as a Universal App for both iPhone and iPad. Since we often get more than one card when we attend meetings and conferences, it would be nice to be able to snap all the cards in one session and then have the App do all the recognition in the background. Lastly all you would need to do is proof them before recycling the physical cards.
Overall this is definitely one of the “BEST” Business Card Managers for iOS that I’ve seen.
To say that the Facebook App is not very good is really being nice. It’s so slow at times that I’ve basically defaulted to using the Facebook Mobile Site instead. While both the mobile site and the native Facebook App do incorporate access to your Fan Pages it treats them like second class citizens. Everything is really geared towards your personal account. For example, you can receive push notifications for things like tags, but that’s only if someone tags you personally. What about comments and messages left by your fans on your Pages?
Facebook Pages Manager
Believe it or not, Facebook makes a dedicated App just for Fan/Business Pages. The Facebook Pages Manager acts like the Facebook App for your Pages. You can upload pics directly to your albums. You can reply to messages and comments left and of course do your Likes on your Pages. Now you might be quick to think that since it’s by Facebook that it would be just as bad as the regular Facebook App, but really it’s not (as) bad at all. Once you sign in the App will list all the Pages that you manage. You and easily switch between them. The App is faster than the regular Facebook App perhaps because it’s not bogged down by all the personal stuff and timelines. The Facebook Pages Manager’s biggest advantage is that it gives you push notifications for things that happen on your Pages.
While it would be nice to have ONE GREAT Facebook App that handles Personal profiles, Pages, Groups, etc. it’s good to have at least one Facebook App that actually works decently. There is one point to make though and that is some are having stability issues with the App crashing. So far I’m not seeing any crashing, but there are too many complaining about it on the App Store to ignore and for that reason I’m going to give it a 3 star rating. Features are good and if they’d make it more stable for all then I’d be happy to raise the rating.
I’m used to paying for my beverages at Starbucks with the Starbucks App. I can add money to my card via my credit card on file and when I pull through the drive-thru, they just hold the scanner up to my iPhone and away I go. However, I didn’t know that this kind of convenience had come to parking meters. My good friend Linda told me about the Parkmobile App and I had to take it for a spin. The city of Ferndale Michigan uses electronic parking meters that are Parkmobile compatible. Once you download the App and create a free account you can then use your iPhone to pay for your parking. Just park at a Parkmobile friendly meter and fire up the App. Each meter is marked with a Zone and Meter number. Enter the zone and meter number and you’re all set. If your meter has a barcode on it you can even use the scanner feature in the App to just scan the meter rather than having to enter the data manually. You can go on about your business and once you return to your car just end the session and you’ll be charged only for the time that you parked. This might actually save you a little money because instead of putting in a bunch of coins to cover yourself and then you don’t use up your time, you only pay for the time you’re actually there. The parking fee is the same as you would pay if you put in coins. However, there is a 35¢ charge for the use of the service each time you park. No monthly fees or other costs. Just 35¢ plus your time at the meter.
You will get an email receipt for the charge each time you use the app/service. You can set up multiple cars (by license plate).
The Bottom Line
You can of course still use coins and therefore save the 35¢ fee. However, with Parkmobile you don’t have to worry about feeding the meter or having enough change to park. I’m happy to see these kinds of modern cashless systems come into play. Parkmobile is a US based company with call centers here in the US and boasts being one of the largest cashless parking providers in the country.
On a related note I also commend the city of Royal Oak for also using cashless meters (although not Parkmobile) that are even solar powered. You can ether use coins or simply slide in a credit/debit card.
Earlier this year when I had my taxes done, my CPA once again got on my case for not keeping a better record of my mileage for business travel. He reminded me of how much I'm probably losing in deductions by not documenting my trips. I'm just not a paper log/notebook kinda guy. However, if I can use an App that not only makes it easy, but also kinda fun, I'm all in! I was reminded of this when talking with one of my friends over the weekend and I went in search of an App. Automilez was the second one I tried and I stopped searching there. It does everything I want and does it quite nicely with a nice UI (user interface). When I searched I was expecting to find an App that would allow you to input your starting and ending odometer readings and it would figure out the rest. What I wasn't expecting to find is one that does it via GPS, virtually eliminating the need to input the actual odometer readings. By the way, you CAN input the odometer readings optionally or in those cases where GPS data may not be reliable. Actually that's what I like about this one. You can put in your starting odometer reading and still use the GPS feature. If for some reason the GPS fails during the trip, just enter your ending odometer reading and you will still have the accurate mileage for the trip. Optionally you can use their cloud service to sync your logs between multiple devices.
Complies with IRS requirements
The IRS allows you to deduct your business mileage, but at different rates depending upon the type of driving/purpose trip. You can set up the categories you want ahead of time and put those amounts per mile in. This gives you not only the miles you've traveled but also the amount of the deduction. I gave it a test yesterday on multiple business errands I had to make and I was not only pleased with the way it worked, but also the accuracy. The end of my first trip matched my car's odometer to the 10th of a mile.
How it works
Launch the App, then choose a category and start the trip. You can optionally enter the starting odometer reading. Your current location will be pinpointed on the map. As you start to drive the route will be displayed on the Map. When you get to your destination you can then tap End Trip and it will figure out the total miles and show you your deduction amount. The only thing that I'm surprised by is that you can't actually (or at least I don't see a way) “sending” the report/log. It displays on screen, shows you each trip and you can drill down on each trip to see the details. Seems to be missing that one thing of “Send report/log via email”. Other than that strange omission, it does everything that I need it to do and at the end of the year/next tax season I can simply give my accountant the YTD total miles.
The Bottom Line
Automilez will more than pay for itself with probably the 1st trip that I would have otherwise forgotten to log. It makes this task easy. I would like to see emailing and printing support added and that's the only thing keeping me from giving this a 5th star. As a side note, if you do sign up for the optional free cloud syncing account, you can see your reports and even setup a regular schedule to have them emailed to you, but no on demand emailing. However, you can at least print to a PDF from the Reports web page.