In the beginning, there was cash. But if trends are any indication, recent mobile payment developments are forcing us to think about (and handle) money differently. The concept of cash – and now credit and debit cards – have long been changing. Your business should get on the mobile payment bandwagon now, for several compelling reasons.
Mobile payments have picked up traction over the years, with consumers making mobile payments with their smartphones while using apps like Google Wallet and Apple Pay to make in-store or online transactions. When purchased through a reliable network, the iPhone is extremely user-friendly and convenient to use concerning mobile payments. And with a trustworthy carrier, you can make these mobile payments anytime and anywhere.
The new Apple Pay, unveiled late last year, is one of the most recent developments. It encrypts a bank card’s information directly into an iPhone 6, 6 Plus, or Apple Watch. Customer payments via an iPhone utilize cutting-edge Touch ID technology, which recognizes the owner’s unique fingerprint. Touch ID is capable of 360-degree readability and also lets you enroll multiple fingerprints if you know someone else will need to access your iPhone. This break-through technology will definitely save you the time of entering your password and billing information.
The transaction occurs instantly, without the need to hand over a card, scribble a signature, or enter a PIN. The whole process takes a matter of seconds. The overall benefits of mobile payments can help your business get ahead on several fronts.
Consumers are Ready to Make Mobile Payments
Nielsen reports that more than four in five (87 percent) of smartphone and tablet owners use their devices for shopping activities. In a market where users are accustomed to an ever-expanding array of new apps, smarter phones, and more innovative mobile options, mobile payments will continue to expand in the next few years. Hundreds of thousands of retailers are accepting mobile payments, with major credit card issuers, such as Visa and MasterCard, and banks, such as Chase and Wells Fargo, already deeply engaged.
Increase Flexibility, Efficiency, and Convenience
Mobile payments come with plenty of options to improve business efficiency. Mobile payments and their suite of accompanying tools may help you streamline bookkeeping, speed up wait times at checkout, and allow you greater freedoms off-site (such as at a festival or fair where access to exact change and bulkier POS equipment is limited).
For customers, mobile payments erase common hassles like having to hunt through a stuffed wallet (or a fleet of pockets), or accidentally leaving a credit card on a store counter. It also ensures a lightning-speed checkout experience. Your customers will place added value on these privileges.
Mobile Payments Offer More Security
While data breaches illustrate the vulnerability of physical cards, mobile payments offer attractive security alternatives that make it harder for hackers to get to your data. Apple Pay, for example, converts credit-card data into encryption codes that are then used to process transactions, and Touch ID relies on fingerprint recognition. While mobile payments promise greater security to consumers, they also help protect your business liability.
Out with Swipe-and-Sign
MasterCard and Visa (which are behind more than 90 percent of all credit and debit transactions) announced a deadline of Oct. 15, 2015, for businesses to change current swipe-and-sign card readers to EMV readers. Since you will likely have to change your POS equipment to more mobile-ready options anyway, it may be economical to make a full switch.
Business Growth Opportunities
Many mobile payment options offer apps and services that make it possible for you to integrate loyalty and rewards programs into your mobile offerings while facilitating new marketing possibilities. Customer loyalty means returning customers, which translates to higher revenues.
With mobile payments, your business can broaden its resources and profit economically. Starbucks offers a staggering example with about seven million smartphone purchases per week.
Shifting to mobile payments may require some investment, and you will have to consider whether, depending on your business, you want to embrace mobile payments now versus down the road. In either case, preparing yourself to adapt to a changing culture while growing customer-mobile-savvy can only help, and not hurt, your case for greater business success.
JT Ripton is a business consultant and freelance business, marketing and technology writer out of Tampa. You can follow him on Twitter at @JTRipton.