Small businesses are forever at the mercy of large corporations when it comes to customer expectations. When the large corporations move into a certain payment method or product offering, many small businesses suffer if they do not also move in the same direction.
Simply put, your customers have come to expect the same type of freedom across small and large businesses. The internet is largely the cause of this, but in many respects it has also levelled the playing field in regards to competitive edges between small and large corporations. Accepting Apple Pay is a great example of this.
What is Apple Pay?
By now, unless you literally live in an internet-free zone (is there such a place?), you will have heard of mobile wallets. Simply put, mobile wallets have been described as ways to pay in stores with an app. Apple Pay has taken this a step further, allowing customers to pay with their phone without even opening an app.
Apple Pay is quickly becoming an accepted payment form at brick and mortar businesses across the US.
Apple Pay lets customers pay easily in as little as two steps with the iPhone 6. The customer puts their phone near the payment terminal and swipe their finger across the fingerprint reader to confirm their purchase. Depending on the amount and the limit you have set, a signature might also be required.
For the merchant, what is required is a contactless terminal enabled for Apple Pay.
A simpler way to get paid
The simplicity of Apple Pay for businesses and consumers has ensured its quick rise in payment processing.
For consumers with an acceptable Apple device, the payment process is simpler than traditional payment forms. From searching for the right change in their pockets or opening their wallet to find the right credit card, Apple Pay is hands-down easier and faster for your customers.
For businesses with queues by the cashier at critical points during the day, Apple Pay payments can clear the queue quicker than payments with cash or physical debit or credit cards.
Upgrade to contactless when you upgrade to EMV
To accept Apple Pay, you simply need to have a contactless payment terminal that is NFC capable with your current payment process provider.
As a small business owner, you will want to be specifically aware of your payment terminal at this point in time. With so many changes in the payment processing industry this year, you do not want to upgrade your terminal only to realize it is not contactless-ready.
If you have an old payment terminal that just accepts a swipe for debit or credit cards, you will want to upgrade to an EMV terminal that accept chip cards by the liability shift in October 2015. Make sure that the EMV terminal you are getting is also contactless. In 2014, 75% of all new terminals shipped to merchants were contactless.
This upgrade will allow you to accept Apple Pay along with other forms of contactless payment which includes credit and debit cards that are already including the NFC standard in their cards as well. Ensure that you can accept the widest range of payment formats as possible, including Apple Pay.
Check out your options
Your first step to accepting Apple Pay is to see if your current terminal accepts contactless payments. Look for the contactless payment symbol which looks like the Wi-Fi symbol beside a hand holding a standard payment card.
Call your provider if you are not sure, and if your terminal is contactless, ask for it to be enabled for Apple Pay.
If your terminal does not have these symbols, confirm with your provider what the upgrade costs will be to move to contactless payment terminals.
If you do not have a payment terminal at all, and your transaction volume is low there are several low cost mPOS card reader options on the market. These include Square, PayPal Here, Amazon Local Register or even a terminal-free solution like Flint Mobile’s payment processing app for iOS and Android devices. The first three have announced their plans to release a contactless terminal option by the fall of 2015, which may be worth waiting for.
Costs for Apple Pay are the same as your current rates with your provider. Accepting Apple Pay is easy and can actually speed up your payment processing times.