Archive May 2019

Will Smartphone Payments Eventually Make Credit Card Scanners Obsolete?

In your own experience as a consumer, you doubtless have seen a huge upswing in the number of large and even small businesses that are taking your credit card payment via a reader that is connected to a smartphone or tablet. Or maybe even eliminating a scanner altogether by accepting payments via Apple Pay or Google Pay. Perhaps that has you wondering whether this new method of making payments will one day overtake the traditional stationary credit card scanner that you use in your own business. While we don’t have a crystal ball, there are some undeniable observations about the industry that can help you reach your own answer to this inquiry.

Broadly Appealing

The sheer scope of businesses that are finding it attractive to accept mobile payments is staggering. Here is a sampling of just a few:

  • Popup arts and crafts, jewelry and artisan food stands that do seasonal or periodic business at farmer’s markets, fairs and the like. These benefit from mobile POS solutions that have minimal fees and are suited for low sales volumes.
  • Restaurants and food trucks use tablets and smartphones at the counter and at the table to enable customers to view the menu, order food and pay their bill. This gives staff more time to complete other tasks and provide in-depth customer service.
  • Contractors and other vendors who accept payments on the road at customers’ homes, etc. Having a smartphone and a card reader allows customers to pay immediately for services rendered, reducing the hassle of sending invoices and chasing people down for nonpayment.
  • Brick-and-mortar retailers. Thanks to portable mobile payment technology, long lines at the store can be a thing of the past. Customers can even pay for their purchases right on the sales floor with the associate’s handy, portable system.

A Word About Connectivity

Even the stationary credit card scanner that you currently use needs to be connected to the internet in some way. Many businesses use a land line for this purpose, and it remains the most stable means to ensure that you will be able to get customers’ card payments processed quickly without glitches.

By definition, mobile phones are portable and do not connect to the internet with a physical cable. While this enables flexibility and greater ease of use, it also means that you are at higher risk of signal variations and drops. If you take your products on the road, your ability to find and maintain a good signal is one of the first things you should test when scouting out your vending location. Another option is to speak with the venue to see if you can purchase internet access for the duration of your stay. Because this is expensive, you might prefer to work with your cellular provider. As long as you have purchased sufficient data, you can set up a mobile hotspot with a personal WiFi signal that enables you to connect your mobile POS to the internet.

Are smartphone payments poised to sweep the commercial landscape and relegate old-school card scanners to the dustbin of history? The short answer is that this tried and true technology will probably continue to be a mainstay for many companies who either like the security of land line connectivity or feel no need to upgrade their systems. Nevertheless, the benefits of mobile POS solutions and technology cannot be denied, and the innovations just keep on coming. In the years to come, you can probably expect to see a limited legacy presence augmented by an ever-expanding selection of cutting-edge mobile payment possibilities.
Read the rest