Mobile Payment Processing Or Credit Card Swiper?

Winterfair, an art show in Covington, KY and Columbus, OH, this past weekend and next, had a few hundred artisans and jewelers peddling their wares to an engaged and well-behaved bunch of shoppers on Black Friday.

The first purchase I made, the retailer whips out her iPhone with a card swiper attached to the top. She swipes, I sign my name with my finger pad, add my mobile number to receive a text receipt, and, voila, I’m done. On to the next retailer where I dig out my card (now not too hard to find), and she swipes and I sign. No need for me to enter my mobile number, it’s already in there from the previous transaction.

We moseyed onward to the man with his two little ones selling miniature figurines in cast iron and painted with oils in high detail. The figures had to be as tall as this line is wide ___________ and the teeniest snowman I have ever seen was NOT taller than this line is wide _______.

When it came to pay, I tossed my card onto the counter, and he returned with an ancient payment system – the triple-layer carbon credit card slip that requires completion of the address, phone number, transaction total, manual calculation of the tax and final total along with the imprinter for the credit card that slides atop the plastic. (Think back…I know you remember!)

When I made a comment, the male retailer said, “Oh, yes, those online mobile payment processers are so much more expensive.”

For sure, when you probably don’t own a smartphone, have no data plan and include the 10 steps you have to make in order to process a payment…!

So, I don’t know a single thing about mobile payment systems; I’m not a retailer. I do use PayPal, which is an online payment processing system that charges me a fee to accept payments into my account from elsewhere.

Mobile retailers, and there are plenty these days, have to get with the picture and understand that there’s so much more to using an online payment system than just paying a fee. Big data are all the rage today, and you can bet those other retailers are earning some awesome demographic information about their customers by using a mobile payment system. If they were smart, they’d get someone to develop a “check-here-to-sign-up-for-our-newsletter box” or “may-we-send-you-one-marketing-message-by SMS-and-then-you-can-opt-out?”

But, what do I know? I’m not in retailing, so perhaps I’m just full of the customer experience.