Mobile Payments are coming and should be part of your business plans.
Early last year, the expectation was that we would have a number of new phones coming out in the 4th quarter which had Near Field Communication (NFC) chips contained in them. Google was pushing their Google Wallet along with a number of competing methods for handling them to make mobile payments, such as ISIS which is backed by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. It was really expected that Q1 of 2012 was going to see a growing acceptance of Mobile Payments.
It is coming, but maybe not as quickly as was hoped, but it is going to be a growing item. At the moment, there is still a fight going on as to what standards to use here in the US for Mobile Payments and that may continue for a while. The sooner that everyone is able to start using mobile payments, the sooner some standards are going to come into play. If you are running a small business, you need to start planning for this eventuality if you have not already done so. At the moment, Point of Sales (POS) devices are being installed in retail stores so that they can take advantage of NFC enabled phones and credit cards that have special chips embedded in them. These are read by the POS device and processed. Those who would be processing the payments are still forming and getting organized. That does not mean that people are not using mobile payments because they already are.
While larger stores should have the new POS devices installed by the end of the year, smaller businesses are going to have to consider installing them as well because that is what the future holds. In a recent study, it is estimated that by 2020, cash will be replaced by mobile payments. That is 8 years from now and would mean that in a few years, widespread adoption of mobile payments will have taken place. But what if you are not a business which has a store front?
We have all heard about the Square device you can attach to an iPhone or Android smart phone and it will be a card reader for a credit card. If you do not have a store front, you need to be current on technologies which could benefit your business. I would suspect that by the end of the year Square will be creating a device which will plug into your phone which will act as a POS system where people can make mobile payments. This is coming and it is just a matter of time before it does.
While this year has not started out as strongly as was expected for NFC enabled devices, they are coming. We expect to see the next Apple iPhone coming with an included NFC chip. Other new Android phones are coming here in the next few months which will have NFC chips. As more manufacturers include the NFC chips, the demand for using them for mobile payments is going to rise. While 2012 was supposed to be the year for growing acceptance of them, it will more than likely start in the 4th quarter. 2013 will see a growing number of people using their smart phone for making payments. And with that, small business need to take advantage of technology to meet the needs of their customers. Missing those opportunities could mean that your competitor may get the business.
Depending on the size of your small business, now is the time to start considering how you will be utilizing mobile payments for your business.