04/06/2012 02:42 pm ET Updated Apr 06, 2012

Mobile Payment Devices Help Small Businesses Get Paid (PHOTOS)

For small businesses, making a sale can be the difference between being in the red or black. Luckily, it has never been easier to accept payments, thanks to a growing market of mobile payment devices.

From the indie artist selling CDs on street corners to the farmer's market entrepreneur, mobile payment technology allows anyone to complete a secure credit transaction with just a small reader and a smartphone. Currently, the three most recognizable mobile payment products come from startup Square, Intuit and PayPal.

Cynthia Okimoto said Intuit GoPayment has worked well for her business, New York Dog Nanny. "While a lot of our grooming business is monthly, other services like house visits or dog walking are sporadic," Okimoto said. "With Intuit GoPayment, we can guarantee we're getting paid upfront for our services, even if our customers don't have cash or checks on them to pay."

Which service is the best for you? Below, we break down the technology (and the fees) behind the market's three devices.

CORRECTION: This article previously stated that Square was the first to release mobile payment technology. Intuit's GoPayment device debuted several months prior to Square.