The first rule of business: give the customers what they want, right? While businesses may apply this rule to merchandise, mostly, it can also be applied to the way that customers shop and pay. Lately, changes in payment technology have opened up new options for consumers to pay in ever easier ways—as long as the business offers it.
Is your business current on the newest payment technology?
For smaller businesses, updating technology and keeping up with the newest methods for payment can present a real challenge. Most recently, businesses were required to undergo a major technology upgrade for payment methods when EMV (Europay, Mastercard, Visa) chip cards became the required standard for card payments. The chip cards, a safer way to pay by debit or credit card, require a different type of reader, one that comes with a hefty price tag for both software and hardware.
And now, there’s Apple Pay, Android Pay, and other contactless payment options—where people can make purchases by simply tapping their phones, watches, or cards on a quick, specially designed point-of-sale (POS) reader. These contactless readers can work with EMV chips or with the apps associated with phone-based payment systems (like Apple Pay and Android Pay) to securely read payment card information and deduct funds accordingly.
Admit it: modern payment technology just keeps getting cooler. But what does that mean for your business?
The simple fact is that customers like ease and variety in their methods of payment. Whether your business is small, medium, or large, you may need to consider updating to accommodate this new form of payment sooner rather than later.
Older business owners probably still remember a time when debit cards and credit cards only held marginal sway over payment methods. They might have doubted how quickly cash would become an almost obsolete form of currency. But today, cash makes up the minor portion of most merchants’ sales (less than 50 percent). I mean, who even carries cash these days? Probably 60 percent of any given crowd doesn’t have a single dollar in their wallets.
With its ease of use and backing by major companies like Apple and Google that guarantee security, it’s easy to predict that contactless payment methods will soon become a major trend in payment technology, and the need to be capable of taking those payments will be spreading through every major city and small town retailer.
But would you believe that there are other trends starting to take shape?
Purchasing within the aisles
According to one source, Target may be allowing consumers to purchase items on their own right in the aisles of the store via mobile payment system. They scan the item and it is immediately purchased and shipped to them.
Untraceable digital currency
In the near future, currencies like bitcoin may take up a bigger portion of the currency market, gaining in popularity for various reasons, chief of which may be that it’s nearly untraceable. This could present major challenges for law enforcement agencies around the world in the coming years, but merchants may also find that accepting bitcoin-like currencies could become a necessity as the market grows.
Implanted payment chips
While many dooms-dayers and conspiracy theorists know better than to get anything tucked beneath the skin, considering the viability of tracking that can be placed within any implant, the rest of the world might find it very convenient that technology is currently being developed to implant a chip beneath the skin of your hand that you can simply tap over a contactless pay terminal to make purchases. It’s both brilliant and a little scary.
Technology is growing and changing daily. Things that seem inconceivable today might become the most popular trend within another decade. Business owners should be readying themselves, setting funds aside and keeping an eye on the trends as they roll in, because payment technology promises to get more interesting in the years to come.