With all the talk about the impending explosion in mobile payments, what do ISOs and merchant level salespeople need to know about this growing sector? Ben Goretsky, Chief Executive Officer at e-commerce gateway provider USA ePay, offers timely advice.
The Green Sheet: What types of mobile payment schemes are being offered today, and do they all, by definition, need to have a gateway component?
Ben Goretsky: Here's what I see being offered – The Quick and Easy. Solutions like Square started this. … It's really made for the merchant who is sick and tired of all the different rates and fees and just wants a solution that they can enter in an amount, swipe the card and have the customer be on their way with an emailed receipt.
The Sophisticated Merchant – This is the solution that is like a POS but not quite the POS.
It can offer you the ability to put a product in when calculating the amount (basically adding in the ability to do line items) and then it calculates the total for you (maybe even adding auto-tax) when checking out your customer; some of these may also have a simple customer database. Square's Register, Intuit's GoPayment and a few others are good examples of this.
The "Real" Merchant – This is the merchant who needs the real deal solution when it comes to mobile payments.
The solution needs to have things like an advanced customer database with saved payment methods and customer incentive discounts; a robust product database with inventory control and management of inventory between multiple locations; ability to sync reports quickly and in real-time regarding transactions, orders, customers and products; ability to sync with your accounting software … all with the proper security, provisions and permissions, as well as a professional interface.
All of these need a gateway to connect to. They all need the transactions to pass through this 'gateway backend' that will store the transaction data in a secure cloud.
GS: What issues should ISOs be thinking about when they seek to partner with mobile payment providers?
BG: One of the main things an ISO needs to think about is that they need a partner that can give them multiple solutions.
A good partner will be able to offer them a solution for the small guy who needs a solution just for his weekend tradeshows and outdoor markets, while still being able to offer the big merchant the enterprise mobile solution.
GS: What technical details concerning mobile payment schemes should sales agents know about?
BG: The number one thing they should ask their merchant is, where do you need to process? Mobile is mobile, but if the merchant thinks that they can go into the middle of the desert and still expect to get perfect reception for their mobile transaction, then it's up to the ISO to give them a dose of reality.
ISOs should also find out what the merchant is trying to do. Does the merchant need a customer database? Do they need to have inventory control? Do they need to run reports? Do they have multiple sales people using the solution? Knowing what the merchant needs and what the merchant's environment is, is very important.
GS: How should ISOs pitch mobile payment solutions to merchants?
BG: They should pitch it to them as the solution they need if they are running a legitimate business. Why does that sound so harsh? It's really not meant to, but it's somewhat true. The merchant who processes one credit card a week doesn't need merchant services, and agents shouldn't be wasting their time on that merchant.
The merchant who needs to process multiple credit card sales on a daily basis because they are running a legitimate business will need the agent's solutions. These merchants are looking for the better rates, they are looking for the customer support and they are looking for someone educated in the field of mobile payments to provide all these to them.
Clearly they are not using solutions like Square because the price is amazing or the customer support is great, they use it because no one else has come along and told them about or educated them about what else is out there which would better fit them.
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