One of the biggest challenges that businesses experience is getting paid.
It often takes a number of steps for your customers to pay you—and even when they follow those steps, it can take weeks (or months) for those funds to hit your bank account. Along the way, your check could get lost in the mail or your customer may forget to pay you altogether.
As a small business owner, you need to minimize the potential of these administrative errors from happening.
Keep in mind that your customers don’t want hiccups either: they don’t want to go through the process of issuing a stop-payment on your check or issuing you a new one.
Mobile payments are one potential solution to this problem. Using simple accounting or payment processing software, often technologies that you are already using, you can accept payments on-the-spot, at the time of service from your smartphone. Follow these steps to incorporate mobile payments into your small business workflows.
1. Get Set Up with the Right Tech
If you’re a QuickBooks Online customer, you can set up mobile payments directly within your smartphone.
The steps to getting started are simple. You start by downloading the QuickBooks Payments App, which integrates directly with QuickBooks.
When you sign up, you’ll receive a free card reader that you can use to accept credit card payments, in the mail. This technology takes care of compliance and security considerations, so you don’t need to worry about them.
If your business caters to consumers in addition to other businesses, you have the option to upgrade your device to an all-in-one card reader. This technology accepts Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay—popular digital wallet options that people are starting to use instead of cash.
Integration with your accounting system means that all of your data exists in one place, and you can access it on-the-fly. If you’re frequently on-the-go, you can even run your entire accounting operations from your phone. With this freedom, you can make more out of your time.
When choosing mobile payment technology, make sure you choose options that integrate with your overall finance and accounting infrastructure. You will need to sign up with a digital wallet provider in order to accept payments through that provider. You’ll also need a point-of-sale terminal that can handle digital wallet technology.
If you do need additional upgrades, many mobile payment and digital wallet providers are willing to work with you to keep costs down, because it’s to their advantage to increase the number of businesses accepting digital wallet payments. Talk to your current point-of-sale provider and/or credit card processing service. Chances are that they are already working with at least one major digital wallet provider.
2. Security 101
All the financial services and payment information in the mobile payment app and digital wallet is encrypted for protection. During payment, digital wallets transmit the consumer’s information from the phone to the point-of-sale terminal using information transfer technology, typically Near-Field Communications (NFC). During transfer, payment data is encrypted to protect it from hackers. Depending on the app and hardware used, that data may also be tokenized.
Tokenization means that credit card numbers are translated into a token ID number that’s used only for that transaction. Even if a hacker obtains the token, it won’t enable them to access or use the card for additional transactions. Tokenization protects both consumers and businesses from fraud in digital wallet transactions.
The physical process involved in mobile payments also helps provide security. Consumers can lock their smartphones with a PIN code, a fingerprint or other security method of their choosing. The payment app itself may require using a personal identification number (PIN) code or biometric identification through a fingerprint to access it.
Finally, making a mobile payment requires a person to have the physical phone in hand, and it’s extremely unlikely that a thief who steals someone’s phone would also know the PIN code and somehow be able to use biometric identification. Even if someone does steal a phone, most payment apps come with the ability to shut themselves off, and most phones also enable remotely locking the phone.
When choosing payment processing software, make sure to pay close attention to security considerations. Gain a clear understanding of which party is liable in the event of a data breach, and take steps to work with software providers that offer a degree of protection. Working with a third-party payment provider is often safer than managing your own tech.
3. Processing Mobile Payments
Mobile payments are valuable payment processing options for small businesses of all types. Whether you run a photography business, booth at a farmer’s market, retail storefront, or freelance consulting company, the ability to get paid from anywhere is powerful.
Use your payment processing capabilities as a relationship-building opportunity for your customers. If you’re visiting a client, offer to accept a credit card payment for your services, on the spot. If you’re collecting payment at a storefront terminal, use the opportunity to tell customers about any loyalty programs or special offers.
As a business owner, your goal is to make the payments process as streamlined as possible. Accepting mobile payments make it easier for you to get paid and stay protected with compliance laws and security guidelines along the way.
When you sign up to accept any type of mobile payment service, make sure you understand who has responsibility in the event of a data breach or fraud, and that your business will not be held responsible for losses.
Using a reliable, reputable company with experience in protecting sensitive data will help protect your business.