Mobile Payments Are the Future: How Your Business Should Prepare


The announcement of Apple’s new mobile payment service echoes consumer demand for a way to pay using the same device they use to do everything else. Apple Pay will let owners of iPhones and Apple Watches leave home without their wallets, paying by simply holding the device near a contactless reader in stores and other retail locations. Credit card information will be securely stored in the user’s phone, identified to the reader by a secure code.

This new feature will likely drive demand from owners of Android, BlackBerry, and Windows-based mobile devices for the ability to pay via electronic device, as well. As such, it’s important that retailers in all industries be prepared to make the necessary changes. Here are a couple of things your business will need to do to prepare.

Upgrade Point-of-Sale

Initially, consumers will understand that the service is only available in a limited number of locations. But Apple already lists more than 220,000 locations where Apple Pay is accepted, including McDonald’s, Subway, and Whole Foods. To remain competitive, smaller, local businesses will eventually be expected to adopt the new payment method or risk losing business to nearby national franchises.

Apple Pay uses something called Near Field Communication, which has already been available on competing mobile devices. However, unlike the other devices, Apple has the potential to attract big businesses to accept its payment method. To accept Apple Pay, businesses will first be required to upgrade their point-of-sale systems to EMV, which is a more secure way of accepting payments. Credit card providers are already requiring merchants to upgrade to EMV by 2015, so this part of the process may have already been completed by many businesses.

Near-Field Communication

The second step involves upgrading to Near-Field Communication, which is often by many payment processors. VeriFone and VIVOtech offer both EMV and NFC for systems, with VIVOtech offering an option that adds on to an existing setup. Even if you don’t plan to begin accepting NFC payments right away, having an upgraded system in place will give you the luxury of making the change when you’re ready.

Apple Pay is an exciting, promising addition to the consumer smartphone market. It’s important that businesses realize how quickly the payment landscape will change due to this new offering and make preparations to accommodate both plastic-paying customers and those who wish to pay using a mobile app. For businesses that want a true competitive edge, they should consider making the switch early, since they’ll be able to win customers who are eager to try out life without a wallet.

Top Tech Trends to Watch in 2014

While 2014 likely won’t bring flying cars to our skies, technology is definitely progressing with each year. These trends are usually a progression of the technology we loved the previous year–more social media sites, exciting new gadgets to make our lives easier, and innovative ways to do the things we do every day.

As businesses wind down 2013, they’re likely approaching 2014 with excitement and uncertainty. How will they need to adjust their marketing efforts in the new year to meet the changes in the market? Should they replace their aging equipment with mobile devices, connected to the Cloud? These top trends to watch can help businesses gear up for a successful 2014.

Online Order Fulfillment

Whether through the use of 3-D printing of products or local delivery, e-commerce sites will find unique ways to fulfill customer orders. As 3-D printers become more widespread in the marketplace, businesses will find ways to craft and ship products to customer specifications. Clothing can be designed in the color and cut a customer wants, for instance, or jewelry could be printed to specifically match an outfit uploaded by a customer. With companies like Amazon experimenting with local delivery, consumer expectations will rise. To compete, smaller businesses will be required to find ways to get items in the hands of customers more quickly.

Body Meets Technology

Wearable technology will grow as a market in 2014, with smartwatches and fitness trackers showing up on wrists and clipped onto waistbands in increasing numbers. One company has created a Near-Field Communication-enabled ring that can unlock doors and transfer information. This could be the first step toward NFC-powered payments in stores. As more consumers show up wearing smartwatches and other pieces of wearable tech, it will become more mainstream, eventually eliminating the need to have a smartphone in hand at all times.

BYOD Grows

With each year, an increasing number of companies are allowing workers to add their personal mobile devices to their enterprises. This is especially true for smaller businesses, who find BYOD is more affordable than purchasing devices for each worker. However, the growth of BYOD brings security concerns with it, forcing business owners to put security policies in place to address potential issues.

2014 is likely to be another exciting year in technology. As the population increasingly incorporates technology into every facet of its working and personal lives, businesses are challenged to deliver the information and goods consumers demand.