Making it easier for customers to pay has long been a dream for small business owners. The easier it is, the quicker the payment, the less hassle in tracking down clients for payment or fighting back the “check is in the mail” syndrome. Thankfully, for small businesses, the race is on to develop the best digital and mobile payment systems which mean greater sophistication and ease of use for us and our clients. One company you may have heard of, Google, recently announced that it has expanded its mobile phone payment system, Google Wallet, to now work with the iPhone.
The Google Wallet is a free app that allows you to see most everything you now have in your wallet such as credit cards, customer loyalty cards, gift cards, and even tickets to events. The information from these cards can be stored on your Android phone or in the cloud for retrieval for use online or at brick and mortar stores. The concept behind the Wallet is that it is meant to replace everything in your wallet, including money, and allow you to use your phone or digital device for all your transactions.
The updated version of Google Wallet is supposed to make it more competitive with PayPal and other digital payment systems by allowing the app to be used on all Android devices and on the iPhone. Google removed the NFC, or near-field communication function (the cutesy tap-and-share function), from the app to give it more versatility. The Wallet is compatible with MasterCard’s PayPass system with access to over 200,000 merchants including Walgreen’s Macy’s, Old Navy, Subway, and more. Google does not charge businesses and only normal credit card fees apply.
For the small business owner, it opens up new opportunities for generating business such as offering customer loyalty and gift cards through the Wallet, discounts for paying digitally, and providing convenience for customers. The Wallet eliminates the fear of losing a credit card or cash, forgetting tickets, and misplacing loyalty or membership cards. In theory it should be a hit. But according to a recent Bloomberg Businessweek article, Google spent about $300 million buying digital payment startups to help develop the Wallet app, and according to Play, Google’s app store, Wallet has been downloaded fewer than 10 million times in the two years since its launch.
Other digital paying systems such as Square Wallet (2.75% per swipe or $275 monthly flat fee), Clinkle (not completely online and recently funded with $25 million), and LevelUp (2% payment processing charge) are all striving to be the best in paying-by-phone service. All of these systems claim to be safe and reliable. The one that works best for your business is the one that provides convenience and reliability for your customers and gets the money for your products and services in your hands the fastest.
Google Wallet and most of the others are free to download so it is worth a test drive to determine the one that fits best with your business.