Consumers are increasingly reaching for their mobile wallets, and merchants who aren’t ready to accept mobile payments will be left behind. According to Deloitte, by the end of 2015, approximately 5 percent of approximately 600 million NFC-enabled phones worldwide were used to submit a payment one or more times a month. Furthermore, Forrester predicts that Americans will spend $142 billion using mobile payments by 2019. Clearly, mobile merchant services are moving quickly ahead, making it even more important for businesses to stay on top of this technology.
Why mobile payments?
Getting up to speed on any new technology can seem daunting. But most of the time, the benefits far outweigh the time and effort required. Mobile payments are a good example of a new technology offering a broad range of benefits for both merchants and consumers. Facilitating quick payments with just the tap of a phone, mobile payments are faster and more convenient than conventional payments types. Mobile payments simplify things for consumers, who no longer have to bring physical credit or debit cards when they go shopping– they can simply take their phone and go. Since most of us carry our smartphones everywhere anyway, the ability to use the device to make payments makes things even easier.
If security is on your mind, rest assured that proximity mobile payments are more secure than traditional magstripe payments. Not only is the card data tokenized, helping to protect the true card number, most digital wallets also require device authentication via fingerprint or passcode for each transaction. These two layers of security help to make it more difficult for thieves to use a stolen phone to make a purchase. Add to that the fact that during a mobile payment transaction, the consumer does not need to hand over their payment card, which reduces the chance of card theft or skimming.
Let’s take a look at five steps you can take to begin accepting mobile payments at your business.
1. Choose a reputable and knowledgeable payment processor.
Start by talking with your payment processor to find out what type of mobile payment solutions they support. If your current provider doesn’t have the option that will work best for your business, it pays to shop around. Find out how much experience your current and potential processors have with mobile payments. Ask your colleagues about their experience with mobile payment providers and what worked for them. Finally, make sure the processor you choose can support all types of payments, not just mobile, and that they can guide you throughout the transition to accepting mobile payments.
2. Upgrade to an NFC-enabled solution
In order to accept mobile payments, you will need a solution that reads NFC technology. NFC technology facilitates communication between two devices in close proximity, and an NFC enabled payment terminal is compatible with mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet. Some EMV-enabled devices are also NFC-enabled, so if you have already upgraded to EMV, you may already have NFC capability. If you haven’t upgraded to EMV, now’s the time to do so, and be sure that the solution you choose is also NFC enabled.
3. Add gift and stored value capability
Gift cards remain consumers’ number one gift choice, and digital gift cards are really taking off – with a 20 percent growth rate compared to 6 percent for traditional gift cards. The cool thing is that many gift card programs today can be converted into digital cards that consumers can use to pay with their smartphone. Some programs, like Vantiv’s for example, even offer cash back rewards and automatic reloading, additional features which encourage customer engagement.
4. Consider adding pay-on-the-go functionality with a mobile card reader
Mobile point of sale systems allow merchants to accept payment by swiping or inserting cards into a card reader attached to a smartphone or tablet that connects to a payment network via a wireless link. This can be useful for accepting payments on the sales floor to reduce lines at checkout, as well as for business conducted offsite such as at a trade show or fair. Look for a card reader that also accepts NFC payments so you can accept mobile payments as well as traditional card payments
5. Let your customers know what you offer
Once your business is set up to accept mobile payments, be sure to let your customers know so they can start using this payment type. Use signage at the point of sale, send an email to registered customers, or mail a promotional flyer. Put a notice on your website or mention it in a blog post. Let your customers know that mobile payments are easy, fast and secure. When they see that you are on the cutting edge of new payments acceptance, they are sure to be impressed.
Mobile payments are not a futuristic idea- they are happening right now. By investing in this new technology, you are investing in the success of your business. The ease, convenience, and security of mobile payments cannot be beat. Now’s the time to get started.