Have you considered mobile payments options for your business? These range from accepting credit cards on the go and using your mobile like a wallet to making your e-commerce available on the mobile web. Mobile payments are becoming big business — and the segment is only expected to grow.
A forecast from UK-based Coda Research Consultancy predicts mobile e-commerce will grow 65 percent annually to reach $24 billion in 2015. Though that’s still a small segment compared to total e-commerce, it’s nothing to scoff at. And a number of new and longstanding companies want to help you take advantage of the mobile marketplace by increasing compatibility with mobile sites, allowing quicker checkouts, and offering new concepts for how transactions are completed.
From E-Commerce to M-Commerce
One of the easiest ways to get into m-commerce is with the e-commerce tools you’re likely already using. PayPal, Amazon, and Google Checkout all offer mobile options integrated into their main services. Google Checkout reroutes its checkout process to a mobile-friendly site to make sure buyers can complete transactions. Amazon offers a similarly slick mobile payment option as part of its Flexible Payments Service. PayPal allows for mobile transactions and adds the benefit of quick person-to-person transactions. On the iPhone, you can even use the Bump application to tap two phones together to send money.
If you need to accept payments on the go, there are some creative new ways to turn your mobile into a POS device. Square recently launched for iPhone, iPad, and Android and can turn your mobile into a credit card processor with a simple dongle that plugs in to your headphone jack. With low transaction fees, options for tipping, and e-mail receipts, Square makes it easy for even the smallest seller to accept credit card payments on the go.
Similar to PayPal’s person-to-person mobile transactions is mPayy, which allows users to transfer funds directly from their bank accounts via mobile. Both parties need to have an account, and you can have multiple reps from your mobile salesforce use the same account to receive payments. Another similar option is Obopay, which draws from a bank account or credit card and lets a user initiate a transfer to anyone with a mobile number — even if they don’t already have an account.
Billing to Phone Carriers
Another way mobile billing can benefit your business is by charging small transactions to customers’ mobile carriers. This way, customers don’t need a credit card or even a bank account — they just need a mobile phone to pay. Zong is an app that works mainly with social networks and online games to let users make small purchases with their mobile accounts, like buying Facebook credits. Users can also upgrade to connect a credit card to their account and still check out with just their phone number.
Bango, which can charge a phone company or let users check out with PayPal or a credit card, focuses on integration with mobile sites and apps. It’s mostly used for mobile downloads like apps, games, and ringtones, with clients including Electronic Arts and World Wrestling Entertainment.
Like Zong, Boku is a growing payment option that bills through mobile operators and is used mainly for small digital purchases in games, including Sega’s online offerings.
The Mobile Wallet
Using a mobile phone as a cash and credit card replacement is coming closer to being a reality. Starbucks recently launched a program at their locations in Target stores where customers can use their Starbucks cards directly from their iPhones with a bar code. Starbucks used mFoundry to build its system, which also includes loyalty program tracking. mFoundry also offers mobile wallet solutions that can tap into users’ credit and debit cards.
Early stage product FaceCash, from startup ThinkLink, also hopes to change the way we pay. It uses your photo for ID verification and a barcode to transmit your information. FaceCash allows person-to-person transfers and bill splitting among members.
One final mobile payment option to watch for is the recently announced DeviceFidelity In2Pay iPhone case, which uses a microSD card to let users wave their phone over a Visa payWave terminal to purchase items at select retailers, transit stations, and other locations.
Though many of these mobile payment tools are new, take note and start thinking about how you can use mobile payments for your business. Whether it’s extending your e-commerce capabilities; reaching customers without credit cards; or creating a full-fledged loyalty program that clients will always have access to, these are all options that can help increase your bottom line.