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.

 

15 comments
barrettrossie
barrettrossie

I don't know the exact numbers, but I've read in a couple of places that Square is less expensive for small merchants than traditional credit card merchant accounts. They even have a new service where, once you're set up, you just say your name... and Square works with your phone that's still in your pocket to complete the transaction.

 

Of course, we all have a long way to go to catch up with @jasonkonopinski ... :-)  

wonderoftech
wonderoftech

Hi Jayme, I think you're talking about Square, which enables vendors to accept credit card payments using their smartphone or iPad. Square isn't free, but I agree with you, the convenience of doing business that way must increase revenues to compensate for the fees. The growth of Square has been phenomenal, even though PayPal has had a similar mobile payment service for years.

 

I imagine that the future is NFC payments where everyone's cell phone will be their wallet and payments can be made by tapping phones and entering a passcode.

rdopping
rdopping

It's just easier for all including the retailer and who doesn't want their money right away?

 

Grass roots is grass roots though. I was at an outdoor art show this summer in a local park downtown (Toronto) - huge - maybe 150 vendors with food trucks and the whole bit. We actually commented on the fact that most of these independent artists all sold from their websites (the one's we spoke to) and the from the number of posters, cards,etc most were advertising their websites. What was cool was if we likes an artist we could tag their site on our phones and go back or order right from there.

 

Many had electronic payment systems right there but as many didn't. 

 

We didn't ask about it (who would) so no idea on why the disparity there. All of downtown TO is a hot spot - wifi everywhere - so it's not because access is an issue.

 

I think @jasonkonopinski is bang on at least from what I have seen.

Latest blog post:

jennwhinnem
jennwhinnem

Square really isn't that expensive. It takes less of the cut than a regular credit card machine. But I too would love to hear a retailer come back on this.

jasonkonopinski
jasonkonopinski

I've used Square to settle client invoices for quite sometime. Per swipe, Square charges 2.75% and introduced a flat-rate annual fee of $275 this past August (as long as you do less than $250K in credit card sales per year/$20K per month). 

 

Mobile payments is a competitive market, but smartphone adoption still lags.  

Latest blog post: A Word of Thanks & Gratitude

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @jennwhinnem Thanks for being earlier to the party than I today! That's tres impressive! Agree...what would make a dude NOT engage in mobile payments? I bet I'm spot on with that smartphone thing. He doesn't have one.

rdopping
rdopping

@Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing @jasonkonopinski Ha! Did you coin that? Social business? Love it.

Latest blog post:

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @jasonkonopinski Wow...fascinating, Jason! I'm so not in the know about this, and did you ever use PayPal?  I thought I'd never need it until I got my first international client. Thanks for sharing this..."smartphone adoption still lags." 

 

I can't fathom this as these retailers who sell at art shows typically are without websites (a jeweler I've befriended has NO interest in a website) and apparently aren't buying the need for a smartphone. 

 

I don't understand. 

Trackbacks