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How 'Smart' Are Merchants Getting

WebiMax Contributor, May 8, 2012

"We don't accept that form of payment," says a store vendor.  "Well, looks like you don’t get my business," I say when I have no other alternatives or don't appreciate the lack thereof.  Inspiring conversions lies at the heart of marketing; it would be a terrible injustice if the marketing comes undone due to issues with accepting payments.

Is your business optimized for accepting payments?  The question involves more than simply accepting particular credit cards these days.  As a recent story tells, some brands lack the technology to allow consumers to make purchases with their smart phones.

Smart cards allow consumers to make purchases; yet, merchants need to host the proper terminals to facilitate the transaction.  It would almost be like doing a bunch of SEO without working out all the kinks related to your ecommerce cart.  That's a big no-no.

Consumers really like the new technology because it makes it harder to commit fraud.  However, not all merchants are up to speed.  The latency is causing increased pressure by credit card companies such as Master Card and Visa.

The pressure of the card issuers makes sense.  The merchants' lack of available technology affects the pockets of the card issuers.  Card issuers are stating that merchants (that are lagging) will be responsible for costs associated to fraud and customer losses.

Verifone, a company issuing merchant technology, plans to heavily market the upgrades as well as implement technology related to Google and Isis smart phone 'wallets.'  The statement by the credit card companies is serving as a catalyst.

Before the announcement, new merchant checkout technologies were experiencing little momentum.  Additionally, Google's phone 'wallet' technology wasn't seeing the expected traction.  What does Verifone, Isis, and those who stand to make dividends think about the move of the creditors?  "This was a gift, to be honest, that was sitting under our Christmas tree that we didn't anticipate," states Ryan Hughes of Isis.

A representative at Verifone projects the smart phone technology will be widespread in five years.  Remember debit cards?  How long did that trend take to grab a hold of the mainstream?  It took four times longer (according to the Times story).

In business, where there's a demand, supply is sure to follow.  You've probably heard of Square's checkout method, allowing smart phone owners to pay through a merchant 'swiper.'  The app alerts owners of merchants in the area using the technology while confirming identify through picture profile.

PayPal is following suit to the Square system.  Though as far as PayPal is concerned it's not hip to be square; the brand's polygon of choice is a triangle.  Is Square and PayPal hip to the NFC technology?  Will they ask consumers to buy NFC-enabled phones and ask merchants to establish the complementary technology?  At present, neither company is entertaining such sentiments.

"If I were a device manufacturer, or a device operator, and that was the tool I had at my disposal to enter the payments market, that might be the thing I pushed," states a former PayPal VP.

The kinks may not be free from the mobile payment operation.  Analysts think a wireless connection can cause issues.  Additionally, some question whether passing out hardware is a viable option; the readers are projected to cost a reasonably more to produce.

Need an Expert Contributor?

Ken Wisnefski is a seasoned web entrepreneur and a frequent contributor to news outlets and business publications. Ken’s vast knowledge of how to make online businesses succeed has made him a sought after consultant from businesses wishing to improve their online initiatives. Contact pr@webimax.com to collaborate!


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