The growing trend of mobile payments

By Jacob Thompson´╗┐

Mobile payments provide retailers an opportunity to take advantage of the newest method of payment. The Center of Retail Research recently released some interesting figures, numbers that clearly shows the growing trend of customers using mobile money. It also predicted that about one out of every 10 shoppers would purchase a gift this holiday season using a mobile device. 

This trend continues to grow as technology improves and customers feel secure using mobile payments. In 2012, it is expected that using mobile money will become even more mainstream as phones that offer the services become more affordable due to newer models of the devices being released. 

Merchants may want to start consider implementing cell phone payment processing in order to cash in on the projected 119 billion dollars in mobile payments for retail goods by 2015. Some estimations have m-commerce topping a trillion dollars globally by 2020. Top m-commerce retailers are large companies like eBay and Amazon, but that does not mean small businesses cannot take advantage of this growing trend as well. 

There are many advantages for a small business that chooses to accept mobile payments. Accepting mobile money can increase business opportunities, expand the customer base and increase profit. Traditionally, any merchant that wanted to accept credit card payments would have to go through a credit card processing services company, lease expensive terminals and swipe machines and enter into a long-term contract (read more at MerchantSeek.com). Now, with applications like Square and Intuit's GoPayment, merchants can use their existing smart phone with a card reader attachment and pay a per transaction fee. 

If your business does not already accept mobile money, now is the perfect time to start. Mobile payments are fast, and many applications simply e-mail or send a text receipt in place of a paper receipt. That means there is no longer a wait time for receipts to print and no additional resources needed to be spent on printing machines, ink and specialty paper. As more customers get acclimated to paying with mobile money, not offering this method of payment will drive a certain customer base away. As the trend of m-commerce continues to grow,not accepting mobile payments will be just like not accepting credit cards at all. 

There are numerous choices for a mobile credit card processing service for merchants. Some applications require an online merchant account in order to accept mobile money while others do not. Once the app is installed, merchants can begin to process credit or debit card transactions with a data processing package, credit card processing service and any necessary accessories required by the application. 

There are two methods to physically process the card. One way allows you to key in the credit card number and then have the customer sign the device with a stylus, the second way calls for attaching a small card reader to the mobile device, so the card can be swiped. 

Mobile commerce will continue to grow and expand, and retailers can take advantage of this trend by deciding on the best way to start accepting mobile payments. 

Jacob Thompson is a writer for Merchant Seek. His articles have appeared on several small business advice sites. Mechant Seek is located in Savannah, Georgia and provides advice for retailers on choosing a payment processing company.