According to a March 2010 report from Generator Research, the number of mobile payment users will grow 600 percent by 2014 to 490 million users. With such immense growth, a mobile payment solution is something that small businesses should be implementing, or at least considering, at this time.
Also called e-wallets or mobile wallets, mobile payments are exactly as the name says: processing payments with cell phones. It’s actually a very easy process, and doesn’t require much additional equipment at all to get started. The minimum that’s needed is a plug-in card reader device, which is available from most mobile payment vendors. This enables you to use your cell phone to take payments when working in the field or demonstrating product at a trade show.
There are actually four types of mobile payment: mobile peer-to-peer, mobile point of sale, mobile commerce, and mobile payments acceptance. Mobile payments acceptance is the one that utilizes the plug-in device. Mobile commerce, or m-commerce, involves using app or browsing the web on the cell phone to make purchases on line. Mobile point of sale uses the cell phone as the wallet or credit card, and also requires special equipment. This type of mobile payment isn’t yet prevalent in the United States. Mobile peer-to-peer is the transfer of funds from one person or another, like compensating the friend who paid for lunch or paying the babysitter.
Mobile payments acceptance is the one that small businesses ought to be most interested in at this time. This is the one that vendors such as Square and Sage Payment Solutions are catering. Large companies, such as Visa, Google, AT&T, and American Express, are also trying to get in on the mix. Customers are already warming up to mobile payments and e-wallets. A recent study found that 62 percent of Americans would be open to using a mobile device to make purchases. After all, they are already comfortable with using credit cards and shopping online. A mobile payment solution builds the bridge between those behaviors and the cell phone.
Mobile payments can be taken one step further by turning your smartphone into a complete bill system with EzBillMaker. This is a Blackberry-only app that allows the phone to create invoices, sales quotes, timesheets, and expense reports. Combine that with a mobile payment solution, and imagine how quickly sales can be made, or how quickly you can get an invoice paid. An app like EzBillMaker demonstrates the benefit of a mobile payment solution. Not only does it benefit the client/customer experience, but it can help to enhance your accounting as well.