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Mobile payment use increasing, but SMBs remain wary

Aug 08, 2013 Dave King

Allowing consumers to purchase products by scanning their mobile devices is gaining traction among large retailers, but has been much slower to take hold as an alternative credit payment system for small and medium sized businesses (SMBs).

According to BIA/Kelsey's latest "Local Commerce Monitor," 40 percent of SMBs said they now accept mobile payments at their smartphone- and tablet-enabled point-of-sale readers. However, 16 percent indicated that they plan on accepting mobile payments within the next year.

Certain sectors have implemented the technology more than others, such as professional, home and trade services, which allow providers lacking a traditional brick-and-mortar infrastructure to become "walking POS terminals," said Steve Marshall, director of research at BIA/Kelsey.

Despite not being the dominant method of accepting payments, mobile point-of-sale availability has risen rapidly among this sector since the firm's last study in October 2012, increasing by nearly 50 percent.

Yet not everyone has jumped on the mobile payments bandwagon. Many consumers believe mobile payments to be a less secure form of payments as well as potentially lacking the in-store or other rewards some cards offer, Bloomberg Businessweek explained.

"Put simply, most consumers don't see enough benefits from mobile payment programs to give up their cash or plastic - despite technological advancements or broad availability," the news source reported. "At best, marginally better transaction speeds that typically accompany these digitized payments are quickly outweighed by shortcomings in other areas."

There are a few ways companies can address these concerns, as well as lack of adoption. For example, owners or executives should investigate what drives customer use and how to make it a more rewarding form of payment to spur more widespread adoption.

However, businesses should avoid pressuring the technology on customers and, instead, maintain a variety of systems that support consumer desires.