Solved: What Does It Cost to Accept Mobile Payments?
By Congli Huang
While credit cards are prevalent in the US, mobile wallets are incredibly popular around the world and are continuing to gain momentum inside and outside the US. Spurred on by the pandemic, consumers have become used to flexible, frictionless, and touchless payment methods online and in-store. Mobile payment options have become the gold standard making it necessary for merchants to offer them in order to have a competitive advantage in the global marketplace.
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Recent data from the U.S. Federal Reserve shows that just 19 percent of users’ monthly transactions are made with cash. This is actually a seven-percent decrease in cash usage since 2019. This data illustrates that cash is becoming far less popular, and merchants will need to adjust by offering a wider range of payment options if they want to keep up. Offering a variety of options can also attract new customers, allowing your business to expand.
Consider the international market, for example. The mobile wallets Alipay and WeChat Pay are both dominant in China and other parts of Asia. With more than one billion users, the two wallets are preferred payment methods for Chinese consumers. These, and other mobile payment options like PayPal and Venmo, are in high demand and more broadly accepted on a global scale. Customers today are quite comfortable with buying online via their smart devices, and thus have minimal hesitation about using a secure app or mobile wallet at checkout.
Related Read: How to Start Accepting Venmo and PayPal Now
Mobile wallets have become a necessary part of merchant payment offerings, but what is the cost of adding these payment methods?
The True Cost to Accept Mobile Payments
Many merchants hesitate at the thought of implementing a new payment option. Initially, some merchants may think that mobile payment processing is an expensive investment that will cost them a lot of time and money to implement, or that there is no guarantee their customers will use it.
But the data has shown time and again, customers are ready and, in many cases, prefer mobile payments. Travelers in particular like using mobile payment methods in a post-pandemic world for safety and convenience. It’s also a simple way to ensure their actual debit or credit cards are lost or stolen. Additionally, mobile wallets provides a backup in the event that a theft does happen, allowing them to continue their vacations and access funds without interruption.
The truth of the matter is that to start accepting in-store mobile payments, a merchant needs only to invest in three things (one of which most merchants already have):
1. A Compatible Terminal: This is actually very easy, and many merchants likely already have one. For example, a global gateway that provides access to many mobile wallet options can integrate your point-of-sale hardware making it seamless to add popular mobile wallets to your check out. For your terminal to have the physical capability to accept mobile payments it just needs near field communication (NFC) capability. If you don’t have an NFC terminal, they cost around $100. The low cost and easy implementation make this a fairly minor business expense. If you have several storefronts to outfit, you could purchase and implement the terminals on a staggered schedule if cost is a concern.
For e-commerce merchants, getting access to mobile wallet options can take a matter of minutes through a global gateway partner, or it could take some integration time and labor to get connected to the necessary mobile wallets.
2. Signage: Making customers aware that you are now accepting mobile payments can bring more people to your brick-and-mortar or online store. Placing logos on your site or in your window will let them know that they can use mobile payment options, which could inspire them to stop in and check things out, or to browse what you have to offer on your site. Many shops also place signage near the register letting customers know about different payment options. Advertising new payment options is a unique opportunity to acquire new customers.
3. Training: Mobile payment processing is fairly straight-forward, similar to credit card payments. The customer will either scan their QR code or wave their phone in front of the NFC reader, which will securely take the details and complete the payment. Even though it’s simple, you will want to train your staff on how things work, in case customers have questions or there is ever a technological issue. Train your team as you normally would on any new process or policy in your store. This includes helping team members to become knowledgeable about each payment platform, and ensuring they know who to contact if anything seems amiss with processing.
All in all, the investment involved in implementing mobile payments is relatively small, while the possibility for revenue growth from that investment is great. In fact, adding global mobile payment options can support your business growth when entering a new market.
The Security of Mobile Payments
Payment security is essential to running a successful business. Payment fraud can damage your reputation and heavily cut into profits. The good news is, mobile payments are extremely secure. Here are four of the high-level security features in place for mobile payments:
1. Passcode: Many mobile phones have a passcode or pattern to complete before they can be opened. This security feature alone would prevent someone who doesn’t know the code from using the phone to make payments, as a locked phone cannot make a payment.
2. Facial or fingerprint scan: Some phones have additional security capabilities such as requiring a facial scan, retinal scan, or fingerprint scan to open and use certain apps, helping prevent fraudulent mobile purchases.
3. Mobile wallet passcode: In many cases, the mobile wallet or mobile payment option itself has a secondary passcode, or it requires the mobile owner to enter a card’s CVC or other security information before completing a purchase.
4. Tokenization: Tokens are strings of random characters used to replace sensitive information, such as credit card numbers. Tokens are used during mobile transactions so that no sensitive information is transmitted during the payment process. While a credit card number might be useful to a thief, a random token is not. In fact, tokenization helps make mobile payment transactions among the most secure payment transactions.
Mobile Payment Options: What Are the Risks?
However, there are still some minor risks to be aware of as a merchant. Look out for these and do your best to prevent them from occurring to keep your business and your customers safe:
1. Malware: It is possible that an unsuspecting user could have malware downloaded onto their phone, or that the phone could be stolen or lost, and malware downloaded onto it. This could allow fraudulent transactions or data theft. Malware could also interfere with a purchase or re-route funds.
2. Stolen phone: Obviously, a clever criminal could steal a phone and somehow crack the passcode to make fraudulent purchases. However, this is where tokenization and record keeping could help stop and solve the crime. The unique code and your records as a merchant could help identify a criminal. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, CCTV near the register can also help with this.
3. Stolen card info: Criminals may steal cards or card numbers, load them into mobile wallets, and successfully make purchases. Again, record keeping could allow you to help solve such crimes.
While these possible incidents are less than ideal, mobile wallet options remain incredibly secure for both merchants and consumers.
Adding Mobile Wallet Options
Adding mobile wallet options should be a no-hassle process for merchants. If you decide to integrate with each mobile wallet provider directly or if you need to update your terminal, it may require financial resources or labor to make it happen. But even if that is the case, mobile wallets are well worth the investment.
One way to cut down on time and labor needed to get access to mobile wallet options is through a payment gateway provider like Citcon. With Citcon, you can implement a wide variety of mobile payment options safely and quickly through one integration. With merchant support available around the clock globally, Citcon can assist you in providing mobile payment options for customers all over the world. Request a brief, no-obligation demo with a Citcon team member today to get started.
Related Read: 10 Questions to Ask a Global Payment Gateway Provider