Mobile Payment Technologies: The option is out there now
By Natalie Smith
Mobile payment technology, be it with a credit or debit card or via a mobile phone, has made significant advancements in recent years. From contact-less payments with your card, to leaving your wallet at home altogether, the process of making on-the-go payments is faster, easier and more secure than ever. One shortfall of mobile technology, however, is that not everyone is aware of their options. Read on to see how you can take advantage of a cashless lifestyle.
An important advancement in mobile phone payment by credit and debit cards has been the emergence of contactless payment. This works simply by placing your card over a sensor in order to pay for purchases, with no need to swipe your card or insert a chip for processing. For certain cardholders, this form of payment is already commonplace. One leader in this field has been Barclaycard in the UK, which has issued millions of cards with this capability. The difficulty with this technology however, is being able to provide consumers and retailers with the necessary technology simultaneously. Consumers require a credit or debit card with contactless compatibility and at the same retailers need the correct card sensor equipment to facilitate this form of payment. Otherwise, consumers will get frustrated at the lack of opportunities to use this method of payment. Industries continue to work together to provide as many outlets as possible for this form of contact-less payment and we should expect many more to pop up in the months and years to come.
Card-Swipe Attachments for Mobile Phones and Tablets
Many smaller shops lose out on business when they are unable to procure a terminal for credit and debit card transactions. Because using plastic is such a modern convenience for many, a sign indicating “cash only” in anything from a cafe to a dry cleaner shop can be all that it takes to make people head for the door.
In order to get around this dilemma, a US company called Square offers a simple solution by introducing an attachment for tablets that includes a card-swipe mechanism. This allows for secure payments, anywhere, anytime. PayPal released a competing card-swiping device that you can attach to your iPhone, Android smartphone or tablet. In both cases, the card reader connects to an app that is programmed to list all of the products and services you provide in your restaurant or shop. You click on the appropriate amount to charge, swipe the customer’s card, and then hand the smartphone or tablet to your customer, who adds a tip and signs with their finger on the touchscreen. The customer can then choose a phone number to send their receipt.
Near Field Communication
An even more advanced form of this contactless interaction is known as Near Field Communication (NFC). NFC is a form of communication between two devices that allows for a transfer of data, such as credit card information for payment with ease. This functions by tapping two devices together, which then signals the connected devices to trade information, allowing you to purchase anything from a sandwich to a car.
BlackBerry mobile phones have been pioneers in this form of mobile payment technology. BlackBerry Bold 3 smartphones are now able to deliver MasterCard NFC payments, being the first SIM-based NFC smartphones to be certified. Now that these BlackBerry phones are able to guarantee NFC payments, users can comfortably leave their wallets behind. Additionally, with PayAnywhere, BlackBerry’s mobile credit card processor, merchants can accept mobile payments using this enterprise-grade pay-as-you-go payment method. With 24-hour technical support and a GeoTax feature that calculates sales tax, this app allows merchants to transition to mobile payments in a secure way. BlackBerry also has NFC compatibility with the BlackBerry Tag application. By touching two NFC-enabled devices together almost any type of media can be transferred, from reports, to music, to websites.
These are just some of the ways that mobile payments are changing the way we buy goods, thus making traditional cash payments unnecessary. Keep these options in mind the next time you consider ways that your smartphone can add substantial conveniences to your day-to-day life.