The Complete Guide to Mobile Payments

Man holding credit card completing a transaction on his iPhone

Mobile payments – you’ve heard the term over and over, but what exactly does it mean? Not only are there a number of ways your customers could be using their mobile devices to give payments, you as a business owner could be leveraging mobile devices to accept them as well.

According to countless resources, mobile is the direction the payment technology space is heading. Whether you’re already in the loop or have some catching up to do, it pays to know exactly how mobile technologies will be impacting your business, or potentially already are!

This post will walk you through how your customers are using mobile to give payments, how you can accept payments using mobile technology, what sorts of features to look for in a mobile solution, and some exciting statistics about the future of payment tech.

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Mobile Payment Technology for Your Customers

Apple Pay/Google Wallet

Apple Pay and Google Wallet are applications on mobile phones that allow users to upload their credit card information to a virtual wallet. Users can either link their cards to apps (like Uber or Etsy) or tap the phone against NFC enabled credit card terminals to make in-person payments.

NFC, or near field communication, is a technology present in most smartphones that allows contactless communication between devices. Certain countertop credit card terminals are equipped to accept contactless payments, which means customers can simply hold their phone close to the machine and authorize a transaction.

This technology is also available for Apple Watch users. The same concept applies, except instead of using their smartphones, customers must simply enable their Apple Wallet on their Apple Watch and hold their wrist in close proximity to the machine until the transaction is complete.

These types of payments have become wildly popular with consumers, with BI Intelligence predicting a swell in mobile payments to $503 billion by the year 2020! Keep in mind, Apple isn’t the only tech giant offering this service. In fact, in order to meet the consumer demand, brands like Kohls, Walmart, Microsoft, Android, and others have released their own virtual wallet applications.

So if you own a brick-and-mortar location, make sure your credit card terminal is NFC enabled!

Mobile Browser Purchases

If your business has an ecommerce component, you understand the importance of a seamless online experience for your customers. Just as they can browse your shop from their desktops, your customers can shop from their mobile devices as well. Statistics show that more and more people are using their mobile internet browsers for everyday activities, including browsing the web and making purchases.

Not only is mobile internet browsing on the rise, but in-app purchases are an ever-increasing industry. In fact, it’s predicted that by the end of 2017, global in-app purchases will reach nearly $37 billion.

What does this mean for your business? Consumers love apps. You already know your website should be mobile responsive, but building an app to help customers along the buying process quickly and easily will give you that competitive edge.

Mobile Payment Technology for Your Business

Mobile Card Readers

Mobile card readers are great for business owners who don’t want to be tethered to a checkout counter. If you frequent trade shows, farmer’s markets, or festivals with your goods, having a way to accept credit cards on-the-go is essential! Your customers are starting to carry less and less cash, with 40% reporting carrying less than $20 with them on a daily basis. Losing a sale because of your cash-only policy is simply unacceptable in this day and age.

Typically, mobile card readers plug into your mobile device and connect with an application. The Fattmerchant mobile app has the ability to type in payment information as well, giving business owners the option of swiping (or dipping) with a card reader or keying in payment information manually.

Mobile Optimized Online Shopping Carts

Online shopping carts are payment gateways that allow for the purchase of goods on a website. I mentioned above how consumers are using their mobile devices to browse the web more than ever, and this goes for eCommerce websites as well. Not only should your website be optimized for mobile viewing, you payment experience should be as well.

What does this mean? It means designing your website in such a way that forms are easy to navigate and use:

  • Responsiveness : When users access your website from different sized devices, the layout should respond and change to fit the size of the screen. If users need to pinch and pull the screen around to see all of your content, they are less likely to engage with your page the way you want them to.
  • Simplicity :Often, all of the content you have on your website isn’t necessarily needed on your mobile version. Condensing sections down to tap-able images or collapsed menus enhances the design and makes it easier for your mobile users to quickly scan your site and find what they need. This is also true for payment forms. Make sure you are only asking for the information you critically need – reducing the number of field entries required to complete the transaction.
  • User Experience : Overall, the user experience should be fast and seamless. Mobile users are on-the-go, meaning they don’t have time to battle with finicky forms and enter in multiple pages worth of information. Keep your customer in mind at all phases of the design process.

Mobile Invoicing Tools

As a business owner, you’re probably out and about more often than you’re sitting behind a desk. The ability to complete important business tasks on your mobile device is incredibly important, so having a tool that helps you invoice on your phone or tablet could be a game changer.

When most people think “invoicing” they think time-consuming, administrative, boring, and complicated. This doesn’t have the be the case. The right mobile invoicing and billing tool can take your billing to the 21st century. Not only do these mobile softwares allow you to create invoices and send them from your mobile device, but you can check up on the status of your payments and even track sales data in most cases.

Top 5 Most Important Features for Mobile Payment Technology

In-Person Payments

You might assume that only retail businesses benefit from the ability to take mobile payments in person, but that isn’t always the case. The ability to swipe a card in person or key in payment information on the spot is valuable for not just retail and restaurant locations, but professional and vocational services as well. Think about an electrician in the field, or a lawyer at a client meeting. Getting billing out of the way quickly and easily reduces stress and gets you paid faster.

Invoice Payments

Invoicing is a key feature function for payment software. If you’re paying for a mobile payments application and you don’t have the ability to draft, save, send, and receive payments from an invoice, you might want to start exploring better options.

Data Analytics

As you continue to take payments with your mobile device, you’re going to want the ability to track that data. Different solutions range in sophistication, but at the very least you’re going to want to be able to track sales volume, payment status, number of unique customers. These basic data points will help you gain a better understanding of your business and make more informed decisions.

Inventory Management

The days of paper-based inventory management are behind you. Not only is a cloud-based system more secure and reliable, the ability to link your inventory with your payment system automates your inventory tracking process. Some systems even have the ability to snap pictures of your products, making it easier than ever for your staff to find items and add them to orders.

Branding Capabilities

Your brand is your company’s identity. Make sure people remember it by having your branding elements – logo, colors, social media pages – featured at all stages of the buyer’s journey. Your mobile payment solution should give you the option to upload your logo, at the very least, but some allow you to customize your receipts and invoices even further.

10 Awesome Mobile Payments Statistics

  1. The number of in-store mobile payment users in the U.S. is predicted to reach 150 million by the end of 2020 – which will represent 56% of the consumer population at that time. (Mobile Payments World)
  2. In the U.S. in 2016, there were 232 million smartphones in use; 16.5% of those were used to make a contactless payment in the same year. (Juniper Research)
  3. In the U.S. mobile wallets are expected to surpass the use of both credit and debit cards by the year 2020. (WorldPay)
  4. Thirty-nine percent of U.S. consumers say they would use mobile payments more frequently if more stores and apps accommodated it.(NFC World)
  5. In-store mobile payments will reach $503 billion by 2020, reflecting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 80% between 2015 and 2020.(BI Intelligence)
  6. Eighty percent of Americans have never used a contactless payment system, compared to the approximately 80% of Australians and Brits who have. (Recode)
  7. In 2016, U.S. consumers bought $47.6 billion of physical goods via remote mobile payments.(Juniper Research)
  8. Most commonly, people make mobile payments through a smartphone web browser or downloaded app.(Pew Charitable Trusts)
  9. Seventy-two percent of mobile payments users are Millennials or Generation Xers. (Pew Charitable Trusts)
  10. Most consumers would be willing to use mobile wallets only if at least 75% of retailers, hospitals, and other relevant entities accepted them. (Wharton University of Pennsylvania)
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