Over the past six months, mobile payments skyrocketed from an industry conversation to mainstream news, fueled by myriad new entrants to the market. Historically, the majority of technological innovations were easily accessible to only mid- and large-sized businesses, but mobile payments level the playing field, providing businesses of all shapes and sizes with new payment acceptance solutions that capitalize on mobile commerce to attract new business, cultivate loyalty with existing customers and grow revenues.
For small businesses, the challenge today is selecting a mobile payment solution that solves for today’s needs, supports
future growth, provides security and remains relevant in the future. Unfortunately, with so many players in the marketplace, mobile payment uncertainty is stalling the decision making process. Examining the most popular options to demystify mobile payments and help formulate a plan to obtain value from this exciting emerging technology.
NFC and Mobile Wallets
Leading providers such as Google, ISIS, Visa and Sprint are relying on promotion of NFC from the mobile network operators (smartphones and tablets) and merchants (countertop payment device) as well as consumer adoption of their individual ‘branded’ wallet. Much debate remains about the availability and implementation timeline of payment types, including NFC, and that will impact the adoption success for this group of mobile payment providers. As we wait and see what plays out with NFC, other companies are taking advantage of innovative technologies, such as QR codes, to expedite their entry into mobile payments and mobile commerce.
QR and Loyalty Programs
Mobile Payment Acceptance
A vastly growing market was evidenced by Square’s recent partnership announcement with Starbucks. Over the past three years, options from Square, VeriFone, PayPal and Intuit offer an immediate solution for the nearly 15 million U.S. businesses that currently don’t accept credit cards, and a solution for businesses that need a secondary, ‘mobile’ payment gateway. Some would argue that these solutions are not truly mobile in terms of accepting payments from a customer’s mobile device, but regardless of the perspective, it’s a key growth area within payments and allows more small businesses to accept debit and credit transactions.
Which to Choose
Payment technology is being developed to help disparate systems work together. Until unified systems are available, the best option small business owners have is to research, compare offerings to their business goals, and then research again. The last thing a business needs is to buy a quick snake oil sell and wind up implementing a mobile payment option that is non-existent in a year. That said, waiting too long on mobile payments might leave your business behind. Get ahead of the competition and begin realizing the value of mobile to reduce costs, attract new business and retain existing customers. Use mobile today to grow your business and drive incremental revenues -– just make sure you do your research first.