How to Harness the Power of Mobile Merchant Accounts for Your Business
By Shannon Martin
Mobile options for simple and easy online merchant accounts are rapidly changing “business as usual” in the world of payment processing. This technology has the potential to significantly benefit small business owners. The most simplistic explanation of these services is that they create non-traditional methods of accepting payments and conducting transactions via cell phones and other mobile connected devices like tablets.
Outside the mobile technology infrastructure, business owners are tied to a physical point-of-sale model to take credit card payments. When the mobile payment model is adopted, however, anyone who can access the Internet via a connected device can, in essence, run a mobile “cash register.” This means not only accepting credit card transactions, but also managing inventory and handling other merchant services vital to a successful business.
In addition to this mobility for the merchant, the complimentary evolution of “near field technology” has put a new level of purchasing power in the hands of consumers. Chip-based credit cards, long the standard in Europe, are making rapid moves toward universal acceptance in the United States. These cards, which process one-time transactional data, are a huge step forward in shutting down identity theft and fraud.
The technology used in chip cards is easily utilized by today’s smartphones, primarily the iPhone and Android devices, allowing consumers to leave their cards at home and to make payments with just a wave of their mobile device. When the two payment structures converge, consumers can make payments anywhere at anytime, and merchants are prepared to process those payments regardless of the setting.
As mobile technology becomes an accepted day-to-day standard, merchants will be compelled to accept mobile payments as just a regular part of doing business. The rationale for taking credit cards in the first place is to cater to a major consumer desire for convenience. The smartphone is the connected wallet of the 21st century, and increasingly, tech savvy customers will want to utilize that mobile power.
The ways in which mobile payments can liberate a business from a physical presence and facilitate payment acceptance at the point of service are myriad. Added advantages of the mobile technology to businesses include the the ability to issue and to redeem coupons and discounts offers that can be used by the customer automatically, with no need to remember to bring along a piece of paper. Add to that advertising via social networking through customer “check ins” and on-the-spot reviews, and it’s clear that the flexibility and versatility of mobile payments will only make the services more desirable to consumers in the coming months and of greater benefit to merchants.