Mobile payment technology has been with us for a number of years, however, in terms of widespread implementation, it has remained somewhat beneath the radar. The majority of people in the UK and Europe still hold many reservations when it comes to using their mobiles to pay for things. They are unwilling to take the necessary leap away from traditional cash and card payment methods. This fear of the unknown regarding mobile payments is what makes mobile point-of-sale, which offers a recognisable and customer friendly interface, such an integral part of the payments ecosystem.
It is the growing use of mPOS technology by merchants which will provide the catalyst for the wider adoption of mobile payments technology for two reasons:
Firstly, with more businesses using mobile phone technology to let consumers pay for goods, the perception of the technology is noticeably changing – in other words, people are becoming increasingly comfortable with seeing mobile phones used for financial transactions in their everyday lives.
Secondly, the development of mPOS technology has created a wave of innovative companies which are compliant with rigorous financial regulations and familiar with creating complex payments products. There is ample industry experience in the mPOS sector that will move into the wider payments industry, helping consumer-friendly, financially compliant products to develop faster.
The penetration of mobile and smart devices combined with the ease and relative affordability of mobile payments technology is a key driver of growth. At a very basic level, the fact that the vast majority of us are spending growing amounts of time on our mobile devices, using them for a whole range of things including shopping, booking holidays and checking bank balances, means that it is a natural process that these devices will form the backbone of our financial transactions.
mPOS technology’s burgeoning popularity is due to a range of reasons. For merchants and businesses, mPOS systems are an attractive option because they offer a flexible and thoroughly affordable means to accept and process card transactions, while still presenting users with a recognisable interface. Unlike traditional card payment companies, which use bulky and static card terminals, mPOS harness the technology which already exists in users’ phones and tablets.
Crucially for small businesses, mobile payments companies such as SumUp require no rigid contracts and there are no expensive set up costs. It is the cost of renting and installing traditional card acceptance units which deters many smaller businesses and traders from accepting card payments. This can often result in ‘cash only’ – much to the ire of casual shoppers and to the detriment of those companies’ bottom lines. Several million transactions are lost every year due to businesses not having the facility to accept card payments.
The final hurdle to ensuring that mobile payments are fully accepted is linked to assuring security concerns. This is simply a case of educating people and normalising the idea that mobiles can be used to pay for goods. The established mPOS companies are working closely with financial organisations such as MasterCard and Visa and as a result, are fully certified by major credit and debit card players. Some companies, including SumUp, are also licensed by the FCA. All these measures ensure that payments are processed with the highest security standards for card payments.
The coming months will be pivotal for the mPOS sector and mobile payments as a whole. The rapid growth of mPOS has the potential to spark a wide reaching adoption of mobile payments technology. This will in turn help us to see our mobile phones in an entirely new light, making the concept of mobile payments the standard way to pay.