Leading businesses accept multiple forms of payment such as cash, credit and debit cards, ACH payments, wire transfers, etc. But there is a new payment method emerging in the market: mobile payments. We are not referring to ecommerce shopping done via a mobile phone—rather, we’ll be delving deep into how brick-and-mortar businesses can accept payments from a mobile device.
The biggest benefit of mobile payments is that they are convenient. Because almost everyone has a smartphone, mobile payments are an easily accessible and alternative way for customers to pay. Accepting mobile payments can also be done anywhere within a store, which expedites the checkout process.
The technology behind accepting mobile payments also reduces how much your business would need to spend on hardware. Instead of purchasing expensive cash registers, all you need is a scanner or card reader that could integrate with your mobile device. The cost of this piece of equipment is typically less than the cost of a regular cash register.
Mobile payments can take one of two different forms. The first is paying via mobile POS system. Instead of a traditional, stationary cash register, employees would have card readers that can connect to their mobile devices and are capable of reading credit and debit cards. The second is paying with a smartphone or tablet, known as contactless payment. This method just requires purchasers to be in range of a retailer’s payment terminal and to click a button on their electronic devices.
One of the most common ways of managing mobile payments is with mobile wallets. With digital wallets like Google Wallet, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, and Capital One Wallet, consumers can store their credit or debit card information and use QR codes or contactless-payment to pay in-store. These wallets are also useful for making purchases online.
So, you might be wondering how your business can accept mobile payments? To accept credit cards payments with your phone, you’ll need a mobile card reader or mobile point of sale terminal. They are usually inexpensive and easy to operate so you can start processing payments anywhere within your store soon after you’ve chosen what mobile POS system to go with.
To process contactless payments (payments made through customers’ smartphones) you’ll need a device enabled with Near Field Communication. NFC is a system that allows devices to communicate via radio when touching. In an NFC-based transaction, physical NFC-terminals are required, so you’ll need to upgrade your technology (payment terminals) if you have not already done so. Most smartphones are now NFC compatible so you’d just need to update/upgrade to an NFC compatible payment terminal to start accepting contactless payment.
While contactless mobile payments are increasing, a majority of consumers in the US still expect businesses to accept credit cards. Due to this consumer expectation, if you want to begin accepting mobile payments, we recommend starting with a mobile card reader or mPOS terminal, and then adopting contactless mobile payments—or going with an option that includes all of these features.
Many consumers still use their cards out of habit, but a growing number of people are beginning to use mobile wallets instead of carrying around cards. Allied Wallet reports that mobile wallet payments accounted for $75 billion in 2016, but estimates that they will reach $500 billion in mobile wallet transactions by 2020.
As for mPOS terminals, Business Insider noted that there were only 3.2 million devices at use in the US in 2014—but by 2021, mobile terminal adoption is predicted to grow over 8x and reach 27.7 million. Many businesses—especially retailers and businesses that appear at trade shows, charity events, food trucks, craft fairs, farmers markets, and more—are making the switch to accepting mobile payments.
Mobile payments, whether by contactless payment (NFC), QR code, or mPOS devices, are rapidly becoming more commonplace in business. To make yourself accessible to as many customers as possible, and improve your in-store checkout process, explore how your business can begin accepting mobile payments today.