Small businesses have finite resources.
That’s why the decision to try out a new workflow or technology can be challenging. Even when there’s a benefit on the horizon, leadership teams must carefully weigh anticipated benefits and drawbacks. Enter mobile payments.
This technology has the potential to transform your business. But is it worth the upfront time to get up and running? You may be surprised to learn that mobile payments bring value to a diverse spectrum of businesses. Even if you don’t work with customers face-to-face, mobile payments can alleviate one of the biggest points of friction in your company—cash flow. Instead of sending an invoice and waiting for your customers to pay you, you can accept payments on the spot using your smartphone. Or, you can use that same technology to take a credit card number over the phone.
How Do Mobile Payments Work?
Many mobile wallet solutions work over a wireless connection or near field communication(NFC), allowing a customer to simply swipe their phone over the point-of-sale terminal and have funds deducted from their bank account.
The information is then transmitted to the retailer at the point of sale. Since the payment information is tokenized, meaning sensitive details (e.g. passwords, PINs, account numbers, etc.) are protected through the transfer. This tokenization makes mobile payments a relatively secure option, as the consumer is not sharing any sensitive data that could be stolen via data breaches that have become more widespread in the past few years.
The benefits are clear, but the question you’re likely asking yourself is whether the upfront cost is worth the reward.
Here are 5 factors to consider when deciding whether mobile payments are right for your company and workflows:
1. Getting Started Takes Less Than a Few Hours
If you’re an existing QuickBooks Online customer, you can enable mobile payments within your existing accounting software. That means you’ll be able to run all of your accounting and payments processing from your phone.
QuickBooks has a mobile app, which comes with a mobile card reader that integrates with your smartphone. The process of setting everything up on your phone or tablet will take a few hours at most, as these apps and devices are pre-configured to work right out of the box.
2. You Won’t Need to Invest in a Point of Sale Terminal
Unless you’re running a retail operation in a fixed location, it you may not need to invest in a terminal. Even if you do have a retail storefront, you may choose to phase out clunky, outdated terminals instead of upgrading them.
All you need to get started with mobile payments are smartphones or tablets. These devices are commonplace–most likely, you already have them on-hand. You could end up saving money by using these devices as opposed to more expensive ones.
3. You Can Meet Your Customers Where They Are
Getting paid is tough because it’s an administrative hassle.
At retail storefronts, nobody wants to wait in line. If you run a B2B company, you’ll quickly see that invoices are easy for customers to forget about. Mobile payments make it easy to reach your customers where they are, at a precise transaction moment. In some cases, your customers may not even need to swipe a card.
In order for a retailer to accept mobile payments, their point-of-sale (POS) device must have NFC technology. Depending on the age of POS terminals, the technology could already be included. However, for some retailers that have not recently updated their POS terminals, conversion to mobile payments may require an upfront investment in new technology.
It’s important to weigh these options to make sure that mobile payments present an actual advantage.
4. Increased Security Makes Mobile Payments Attractive
With tokenization, mobile payments are considered more secure than credit card swipes. Data breaches at large retailers have raised the visibility of how unsecured credit card payments can be, giving mobile payments an added boost when stressing security.
However, detractors of mobile payment options will use recent high-profile cloud breaches, namely of personal photos of celebrities, as examples of how mobile is still vulnerable.
5. Technology Adoption Benefits Your Brand
Consumers take many different factors into account when choosing to do business with retailers. One of these factors is technology.
A viable website, mobile site or app, and responsive customer service are all important elements of a business’ technology profile. Adopting mobile payments and making it known among consumers will further elevate the consumers’ opinion of the company and its commitment to remain on the cutting edge.
Soon, small businesses may not have the choice to deny mobile payments. As consumers continue to rely more heavily on their mobile phones and companies continue to develop new technologies to exploit this dependence, retailers will have to adapt or risk being left behind.
However, that doesn’t mean businesses need to adopt this new payment technology blindly. By staying ahead of the trend and keeping in mind the five factors above, small businesses can join the mobile payment movement with confidence.