2012 has been an exciting year in payment processing, believe me that IS possible! Read on for the 3 main highlights.
1. Mobile Chip and PIN machines now widely available
In 2012 we saw several companies enter the market for lightweight chip and PIN machines that work with smartphones to process payments. What this means is that small mobile businesses can now offer card payments. This change affects merchants such as tradespeople, hair and beauty professionals, travelling professionals and salespeople, taxi drivers, mobile food trucks.
Generally speaking the new style mobile chip and PIN machines work as follows: a lightweight card machine connects to a smartphone using Bluetooth. The payment is made via an app on the phone which verifies payment via the phone signal. A receipt is sent to the customer via email/ SMS. Card details are encrypted by the chip and PIN device so cannot be accessed via the phone.
Currently in Europe 20 million merchants still only offer cash payments. This new type of device offers a large % of theses merchants the option to offer card payments. The devices are available in some cases for free and with no merchant account attached, merchants pay a % on each sale. For further details take a look at my article on mobile chip and PIN.
2. Contactless payments possible at major retailers
The Olympics 2012 was used by banks and some major retailers to launch contactless payments in London. UK banks now issuing contactless cards to UK customers include: HSBC, RBS, Lloyds, Natwest, Halifax, Barclays.
Major retailers that have contactless terminals at some of their stores include: Greggs, the Co-op, Boots, Superdrug, Subway, Wilkinson’s, Pret A Manger and many more are getting on board.
Contacless payments are made using a technology called Near Field Communication (NCF). When a contactless enabled payment card is held near the payment terminal payment is made, no PIN needs to be entered. That makes contactless card payments currently the fastest way to pay. Payments of up to £20 can be made using a contactless card.
There have been security concerns including a channel 4 investigation which found card details could be accessed using software on a smartphone.
3. Mobile payments trialled in the UK
Mobile payments are becoming popular in the US. They are a type of payment where customers pay via their smartphone using the same NCF technology as for contactless payments. RBS and Natwest are currently trialling the technology in the UK and have issued 1000 of their customers with NCF enabled cases for their smartphones.
Mobile payments are good for retailers because they can use the mobile phone to alert customers to promotions. It is thought by many experts contactless cards are a stepping stone to mobile payments using smartphones. I wrote an article on Google Wallet and Isis who are frontrunners in the mobile payments market in the US.
In terms of small businesses and particularly mobile merchants the big change has been the increasing availability of mobile chip and PIN options. If you are a small business who has previously been put off by ongoing costs now might be the time to consider offering card payments. If you need assistance please don’t hesitate to use the contact form and we would be happy to help you find the best provider.