According to a 2015 Federal Reserve Report (PDF), 87 percent of adults in the U.S. have mobile phones and are using them to shop, make payments, and do their banking. Mobile payments are the next new frontier for small businesses, because the new technology means there is going to be a scramble between those who take advantage of this new technology, and those who don’t.
Here’s a basic primer of everything you need to know.
What Are Mobile Payment Platforms?
Robert De Luca, Director of Sales and Marketing for Public Storage Canada explained, “Mobile payment platforms give businesses like ours the ability to use mobile devices like cell phones or tablets as a payment system for our customers. We use a vendor specific to the self-storage industry, but typically PayPal is a great option for small businesses looking to provide their customers with the ability to make mobile payments.”
Why Do You Need Mobile Payment Platforms?
Now, many businesses pay for expensive card readers or bespoke systems which integrate with a traditional checkout system. Still more businesses have to rely on their customers paying by cash (which they don’t want to do) or by check (which they really don’t want to do), or by credit card transfers, all of which have huge fees. These are obviously complicated and cost more money.
A mobile payment system makes this a lot easier, and a lot more small business-friendly. Most transactions are also insured and work with an infrastructure provided by the companies who develop them, so you don’t have to worry about security and the like.
What Are Some Options in Terms of Mobile Payment Platforms?
The good news is that there are many, many mobile payment options either available already or coming into availability in the near-future. The bad news is … that means a lot of choice. A lot of options. Also, it means you’ll have to do your research, as there’s no one size fits all formula.
Here Are Some Recommendations to Get You Started
PayPal Mobile Payments: If you have a PayPal vendor account, which you likely do if you sell online, you’ll be pleased to know that PayPal has its own mobile payment platform.
Amazon Payment Program: If you’re a vendor in the world’s biggest store, then you’re likely to want to try the Amazon Payment system. It allows you to take payments over the phone and is trusted by most of the world’s shoppers.
Your Bank: If you have a business account with your local bank, then you might find that they have a mobile payment system already in place. Barclays, HSBC and larger banks have their own mobile payments systems, so if in doubt these might be a good place to start.
Android Pay: With Android Pay, customers simply unlock their phone and put it close to the contactless terminal. There is no app to open, and customers can even earn loyalty points for paying this way.
Clover: Clover is a replacement for your payment terminal, cash register, and everything else you need to accept payments from customers. You can accept credit cards, EMV, and Apple Pay.You can also run reports from home.
Shopify: This is currently one of the most popular online sales platforms, and now offers POS solutions for businesses. It’s easy to set up, and you can be ready to sell in only an hour. It is user-friendly. You get a free card reader when you sign up. It also allows you to accept more than one payment option. It also allows you to create your own gift cards that can be used in the store or online.
Apple Pay: Any merchants who already accept major credit cards can use Apple Pay. You’ll need a contactless payment-capable point of sale terminal, and if you don’t already have that you’ll need to contact your payment provider. There are no additional fees associated with using Apple Pay.
You only have to look around to understand that mobile payment is the future. If you are missing out on this wave of new commerce, then you are putting your company in jeopardy.