Updated: November 6, 2014
Have you lost more than a few sales at your business because you only take cash or checks for payment? There’s no reason to let a customer walk away simply because he or she doesn’t have enough cash on hand to make the purchase.
Today, accepting credit card payment has never been easier. All you need is a mobile point-of-sale service and a small credit card reader attached to your smartphone or iPad to turn your mobile device to a card payment processor.
Now, rather than waiting for customers to come to you, you can go directly to your customers to do business.
Whether you’re a small business owner looking for a way to make it easy for your customers to pay, an artist who does most of your business outside at markets and fairs, or a big retailer with a large staff, mobile card readers offer a new option at the point of sale. This technology is having quite an impact on many businesses today.
The Big Changes
The mobile payment trend has grown rapidly, thanks to consumers and even businesses wanting more flexible options.
One survey showed that around 40 percent of small to mid-size businesses are already using mobile credit card readers to accept card payments at point of sale, and 16 percent are planning to be able to do so within the next 12 months.
By 2016, it is forecasted that 12.4 percent of shipments of traditional POS systems will be overtaken by mobile POS devices.
The adoption of mobile commerce has expanded to different retail markets and businesses, big and small. Ken Paull, the CEO of ROAM, said mobile is changing the traditional retail landscape as vendors and customers become more accustomed to in-store interactions using tablets or integrated mobile POS systems.
This has raised the bar of customer expectation to where merchants, especially large retailers, are expected to use mobile devices to deliver a seamless shopping experience across different channels.
Also, such expectations stem from the fact the consumers today are quite sophisticated and very experienced with mobile technology, which makes them expect the same from businesses.
Why Are Businesses Embracing Mobile Payment?
Increased Sales Opportunities
Businesses are adopting the use of mobile card readers from companies like Shopify simply because the small, innovative device allows them to be their own point of sale terminals. This not only prevents missed opportunities but increases the chances of getting a sale.
Compared with traditional credit card processing equipment, a smart phone or tablet card reader is compact, lightweight, and a lot more convenient.
The only thing a vendor has to do is swipe the customer’s credit card on the reader and complete the transaction by entering the amount of their purchase on the mobile device touch screen. It’s easy and convenient for both vendor and customer.
Simplified Payment Terms
One of the factors drawing merchants to use mobile POS and credit card processing is how transaction fees have been simplified. It also helps that providers are offering a no-obligation or no-contract service.
Services vary and each has a different set up, with some providers charging a flat fee for every card transaction and others charging a fixed monthly or annual fee plus per-transaction merchant fees at a lower rate from 1.5 to 3 percent. The rate may be lower for swiped transactions than manually keyed-in transactions.
Card readers are also capable of sending receipts via email or text to the customer, saving merchants the cost of receipt paper.
Enhanced Customer Experience
Without a doubt, mobile credit card readers have made customers’ lives easier. These devices are now so popular that some taxi drivers already use them.
When most people seldom bring cash with them, the convenience of mobile card processing is definitely something customers appreciate. This explains why research estimates that mobile payments will reach $90 billion in the next three years.
In a retail setting, installing mobile POS with a card reader will free store clerks and allow them to take customer payments anywhere in the store. When they are not at the checkout counter, staff can interact better with customers on the floor.
Equipped with a mobile POS device, a sales associate can assist a customer in finding an item they are interested in buying, check whether that item is still in stock, and accept card payment immediately.
Mobile POS is giving retailers a significant advantage over competitors that have not yet adopted the technology and also helps them compete even with purely online vendors.
The convenience of paying on the go will only make the technology even more popular, which will drive further developments in the future.
Over time, the impact of mobile card readers and mobile payment in general will further increase the ways businesses and even individuals accept money. It will also expand the options with regards to which platform to use for processing payments.
This article is contributed by Asher Gregory, a business consultant from Florida.
About the photos:
I attended the GCash Bazaar event in Eastwood last month, where merchants used Globe Charge to accept credit card payments. To test the service, I used my GCash Mastercard debit card, but Globe Charge can accept any valid credit or debit card.