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Mobile Payment—Why it Makes Sense

We have discussed the rapid rise in mobile technology usage. On Tuesday, we took the discussion on the road to our local Rotary Club. We also chatted recently about mobile technology on a webinar.

Tuesday’s discussion focused specifically on mobile payment: the benefits, the current options, and what’s ahead. There are big advantages for both consumers and businesses who utilize mobile payment. Here are just a few:

Mobile Payment Benefits for Consumers

Convenience: Do the smartphone users you know go anywhere without their phones?  Mine waits for me right outside the shower, is my dinner companion, and spends the night on my nightstand. (Some say I have issues, but I doubt I’m that unusual.)

People might leave their purse or jacket at home occasionally, but you can bet if they have a smart phone, it’s on them all the time. Mobile payment lets consumers meld their phone with their wallet into one convenient tool that’s always with them.

Access to deals and offers: 
Many mobile payment providers and the merchants who utilize them create special offers targeted directly at their mobile payment customers.  In addition to the convenience of having the ability to pay with their smart phone, mobile payment users have easy access to great deals at the moment they need them.  (How many times have you left that pizza coupon at home?)

Social networking: 
Social check-in is built into the mobile apps of several mobile payment providers.  Consumers can keep track of friends, announce their whereabouts, and share special offers with just one click when they use their phone to pay for something.

Ability to exchange funds with other individuals: 
Some platforms let you send cash or credit payments not only to businesses, but to other individuals.  Does your brother conveniently forget to pay you for mom’s Christmas present because he doesn’t carry a checkbook or cash?  He won’t be able to dodge that bullet any longer.

Mobile Payment Benefits for Business

Ability to accept payment away from their home base: Hosting a booth at a conference, festival or other event? Need an easy way to accept payment? Mobile payment offers businesses a simple, secure means for accepting payment away from their offices or storefronts. Our friends at the Sturgis Falls celebration jumped on board with mobile payment last summer. In some cases, it’s as simple as swiping a credit card on a nifty little peripheral for your smart phone or tablet.

 In a previous post, we mentioned the importance of mobile technology adoption for companies whose image requires they be seen as cutting edge. Offering your customers the option of mobile payment is a great way to show you’re ahead of the curve. In addition, your most tech-savvy customers will feel as though you’re offering them a perk.

Social/location marketing: 
As mentioned above, social check-in is built into some mobile payment apps. Your customer buys something from your business, checks in, and the purchase is tweeted, updated, and posted for all of their social media followers to see. In other words, you make a sale, and then you get some social media love. How’s that for some free marketing? Pretty slick.

Set-up can be (depending on the platform) quick and simple: 
Some mobile payment providers offer you the equipment you need to get started quickly and at no cost. Others require nothing more than equipment you likely already have, and can get you up and running the same day. Not all platforms are this simple, but in an upcoming post we’ll fill you in on what you need to get started with a variety of current platforms.

Cost savings: 
Several mobile payment providers won’t cost any more than what you’re already paying to accept credit cards. One provider will even save you significantly by charging a mere $.25 per transaction, regardless of the transaction size. (Have we mentioned how much we love Dwolla?  More on that next time.)

In an upcoming post, we’ll cover a variety of the mobile payment platforms available today. In the meantime, we hope you’ll share your thoughts on mobile payment. Are you willing to give it a try with your own purchases? Think it might benefit your business? Tell us about it.