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What are mobile payments?

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Last editedJuly 20203 min read

Offering speed, convenience, and security, mobile payments are becoming one of the premier alternative payment methods in the AU. Are you thinking about accepting mobile payments with your business? There’s a lot to consider. Find out more about mobile payments in the UK with our helpful guide.

Mobile payments and NFC mobile payments explained

Mobile payments, very simply, is a term referring to any type of payment made using a mobile device. There are many different types of mobile payments, including QR code payments, MST payments, and mobile-to-mobile payments. Popular providers, such as Apple Pay, provide mobile payment solutions that cut across several of these categories. The two key pieces of tech behind mobile payments are mobile wallets and NFC. Here’s a little more information about these crucial elements of the mobile payment ecosystem:

  • Mobile wallets – Essentially a digital wallet that sits on your phone, you can add and store your credit/debit card details to a digital wallet and then make purchases using the card, via your mobile device. Businesses that wish to accept mobile wallets need a point-of-sale system that’s equipped to process these types of transactions.

  • NFC mobile payments – Standing for “Near Field Communication”, NFC enables multiple devices to communicate wirelessly when they’re in close proximity to each other. So, while the phone doesn’t need to touch the point-of-sale system, it does need to be within a few inches of it. In other words, NFC mobile payments are a direct, near-instantaneous way to make a purchase, enabling the use of mobile wallets and contactless payments.

Why should I accept mobile payments?

There are a broad range of reasons why your business could benefit from offering customers the chance to pay with mobile payments. First and foremost, mobile contactless payments offer an unparalleled level of speed. In fact, they tend to take around one second to process a payment, which puts mobile payments ahead of swipe and EMT chip payments. If your business has a steady flow of traffic and constant queues, the additional speed offered by mobile payment systems is invaluable.

Then, there’s the increased convenience. Put simply, people aren’t carrying cash around with them anymore, and a recent study indicates that around 7.4 million people in the UK are already living a “cashless” life. And while most people haven’t given up credit cards (and aren’t likely to), retrieving a wallet from the bottom of a bag isn’t always the quickest way to pay. Since so many people have their phone ready to go, mobile payments are becoming an increasingly convenient payment method.

Finally, there’s the additional security provided by mobile contactless payments. Mobile payments offer multiple levels of dynamic encryption, making them just as secure as EMV chip card payments. Furthermore, mobile payment systems provide authentication measures that simply don’t exist within other payment methods. From fingerprint ID to GPS location functionality, mobile wallets enable a broad range of additional security controls that can help make your payments as secure as possible.

Bottom line: more of your customers are likely to be using mobile payments now and in the future. To avoid getting left behind and losing business to your competitors, it may be time to start seriously thinking about accepting NFC mobile payments.

Disadvantages of mobile contactless payments

The main drawback associated with NFC mobile payments are the accompanying fees, which can mount up, particularly for a small business. Although your fees are likely to vary depending on the provider that you choose to work with, you can expect to pay a setup fee, a flat monthly fee, a flat fee per purchase, and a percentage of each customer’s purchase (around 3-5%). While it’s worth shopping around to find the best deal, you will ultimately have to pay some kind of fee to collect mobile payments.

How can I accept mobile payments?

Decided that you’d like to offer mobile contactless payments in your store? Great, mobile payments are relatively easy to set up. Essentially, you just need to get a point-of-sale (POS) device that can handle NFC mobile payments. There are many different options, with major names including Square, Lightspeed, and Shopify. Then, you’ll need a trusted payment processor who can help you implement a mobile payment solution that suits your business’s needs, and you should be able to start collecting mobile payments straightaway.

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