By Michael Gavin
As another year comes to an end, it's time to look ahead to see what 2015 holds. It's sure to be an exciting year in payments, yielding new opportunities for you, as ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs). In this article, I'll discuss three top payments trends to watch. Staying on top of these trends will help you and your customers get off to a strong start in the coming year.
Various mobile wallets have been available for some time, but consumer adoption has been slow. This will change in 2015.
Apple Inc.'s launch of the near field communication (NFC)-powered payment platform, Apple Pay, already has and will continue to accelerate mobile payment adoption among consumers. According to BGR Media, within three days of the initial launch of Apple Pay, 1 million credit cards were activated using the platform (see http://bgr.com/2014/10/28/apple-pay-vs-nfc-competition).
Apple also launched the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPad Air 2 devices, which have Apple Pay capabilities, in time for the holiday season. Indeed, Apple expects its sales to increase by 10 percent this quarter due to new iPhone holiday sales. (see www.oregonlive.com/silicon-forest/index.ssf/2014/10/apple_expects_10_percent_sales.html).
This means more consumers will start 2015 with Apple Pay at their fingertips and will begin paying with a simple tap of their phones. With Apple Pay leading the way, it is predicted consumers will also start using other mobile wallets in 2015.
To meet customers' needs and accept mobile wallets, businesses will need to upgrade to NFC-enabled equipment, so they can accept NFC payments, and customers can pay with a tap of their mobile devices. Don't let your customers lag behind; help them upgrade to NFC right away.
2015 will be busy for card issuers and businesses preparing for the liability shift in October. This shift means that if a fraudulent transaction occurs after the October 2015 deadline, the party (merchant or issuer) deemed responsible for not being Europay/MasterCard/Visa (EMV) compliant will be held financially liable. Your customers will be at risk if they do not upgrade to EMV-capable equipment by October 2015.
Many businesses, especially small businesses, are not yet aware of this transition. They may be scrambling at the last minute. Don't let your customers panic. Make sure they are well educated about the upcoming transition today. In July and August 2015, a great number of large retailers will be ordering EMV-enabled devices, and small businesses need to be cautious not to get caught in line behind the big players.
The manufacturers will most likely fill large orders first because shipments of 10, 20 or more EMV devices will take priority over smaller orders of one or two EMV devices. Early 2015 is the perfect time for small and midsize businesses to upgrade to EMV equipment to beat the large retailers' rush.
In 2015, many businesses will transform their checkout processes by implementing tablet-based POS solutions. From processing customer transactions and returns to tracking inventory and pricing, these innovations allow retailers to perform any action they would typically do on standard POSs. They also allow customers the flexibility to check out wherever they may be in the store.
According to Business News Daily (see www.businessnewsdaily.com/6691-mobile-pos-systems.html), businesses are already reaping the benefits of tablet-based POSs: increased sales, better customer experiences and improved inventory management. And they free up floor and counter space so businesses can, for example, display additional inventory. Businesses are also gravitating toward tablet POS systems for the convenience of a cloud-based solution, offering easy updates with no manual maintenance, as well as the ability to access data anywhere 24/7.
Much is in store for payments in 2015. Make sure your customers are armed with the right tools to stay ahead of the game. It's time to embrace change and capitalize on new opportunities.
As Merchant Warehouse Senior Vice President, Sales, Michael Gavin is responsible for day-to-day management of the company's direct sales, as well as leadership of all sales activities within the company's agent channel. He has served as a key leader within the organization since joining the company in late 2000. Merchant Warehouse's Genius Customer Engagement Platform is a single, intuitive platform that integrates every transaction technology, loyalty program and more. Contact Michael at email@example.com. For more information on the company, visit http://merchantwarehouse.com.
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