Up until the last few years, the idea of mobile payments was mostly confined to science fiction stories. The idea of being able to purchase goods and services without taking out your wallet has become more common over the past several years, and recently several major retailers have started accepting mobile credit card processing as a means of payment.
The convenience of cell phone credit card processing makes it a growing trend for consumers everywhere. Essentially, a person wishing to pay for an item from a store can use his or her phone to make the payment instead of carrying several cards in their wallet. The exact method for this can vary. Some cell phones simply store credit card information on them, while others assign their customers an account that will accept charges. Either way makes it possible for a cashier to simply scan a phone-generated barcode in order to make a payment. The charges appear on the customer’s credit card bill or cell phone bill.
A common debate in the payments industry is over the security of cell phone payments. Some fear that hackers can easily gain access to a consumer’s personal information more easily than they would with a physical credit card. Many of the cell phones use RFID signals for payments and a hacker can develop an application to access these signals from a phone, gaining access to the account tied to the phone. These security concerns are a large reason why the cell phone payment movement hasn’t completely taken off. Still, it is rapidly growing for an industry still in its early stages.
One of the most talked about applications for this type of payment is vending machines and parking meters. Rather than have customers scrounge for change in order to make a purchase, mobile payments allow a customer to provide the exact amount necessary to make a purchase. In addition, the customer can get a receipt of his or her purchase.
Mobile payments are also becoming more popular among small retailers. In the past, many small businesses have not been set up to take credit card payments because of the cost of the equipment involved. In order for this equipment to work, it had to be tied to a local phone line. This made it impossible for businesses at remote locations such as craft shows and farmer’s markets to accept credit cards. With mobile payments, however, it is possible for these types of businesses to accept credit card payments.
Business owners are also able to accept payments in the field and other locations away from their businesses instantaneously with mobile credit card processing. Services such as plumbers, electricians, and landscapers can use mobile payments to accept credit cards from their clients at the time service is rendered, as opposed to collecting the information then waiting several days to run the charges.
The uses that businesses will find for mobile credit card processing have just begun. As the technology to complete these transactions becomes more popular, more businesses will start to use the technology themselves.