Many industry insiders are buzzing about mPOS lately, which is not at all surprising. There are two reasons for the recent “Rise of mPOS”. First, the increase of small and micro enterprises since the start of the global recession in 2008. Second, increased interest on the part of Tier 1 and 2 merchants in using mPOS in traditional retails environments.
Christian Deger, CEO of payworks, sums up the potential of mPOS as follows:
“mPOS is so much more than only payments. Its technology enables developers to integrate payment acceptance into very targeted solutions for specific merchant verticals. We see many of these solutions already today and with the payworks mPOS SDK and our partner Credorax we will see much more in the very near future!”
Opening doors for small merchants and startups
When the Great Recession hit the world stage in 2008, unemployment skyrocketed. As the world continues to recover from the financial aftershocks, increasing numbers of people have turned to self-employment for income or to supplement state subsidies or simply to fulfill lifelong dreams.
Traditionally, it was hard for small and micro merchants to get processing facilities due to lack of history/funds. On the other hand, classic POS is generally too expensive merchants and very often not linked to cash registers. It often requires block receipts and/or manual cross referencing.
mPOS enables small merchants and startups that have previously been neglected by acquirers to start taking payments almost immediately. Specifically, industries that couldn’t previously take credit card payments due to the mobility involved in the trade such as delivery businesses, tradesmen like plumbers/carpenters/electricians, door to door sales people etc. Now these businesses have the freedom to take credit cards where previously they were dependent on cash, checks or expensive GPRS POS terminals.
Reinvigorating the traditional retail experience
According to Gary Munro, who presented at the recent MPE conference, Tier 1 and 2 merchants are showing more interest in using mPOS in the more traditional retail environment, making the shopping experience more enjoyable for consumers.
Who wouldn’t want to see an end to long lines at the supermarket or department stores? Roaming shop assistants equipped with mPOS terminals who can process payments on the spot make this possible.
And there is more good news for traditional retailers: a multitude of designs, shapes and colors which are becoming available allow merchants to customize mPOS terminals according to their needs or brand identity.
While the future looks bright for mPOS, there are a number of challenges we are likely to encounter on the way. For example, too many providers flooding the market could make it difficult for young and small companies to choose as they can’t see the differences in offerings at first glance, which could lead to a price war amongst providers. The multitude of devices and payment apps in the market could also lead to confusion for consumers as to which they can and can’t trust especially when it comes to fraud and data breaches.
To maximize ROI, fast and automated onboarding is important for both small and large enterprises. Speedy onboarding is specifically important for small merchants who don’t want to or can’t wait weeks for a merchant account—their businesses depend on being able to take payments almost immediately. Automated onboarding is still a challenge for many traditional acquirers.
However, as we discussed in a recent blog post, merchants shouldn’t have to choose between speed and credibility when it comes to onboarding.
Service is another issue that can present challenges for the burgeoning mPOS market. Will small merchants sign up and never hear from their service provider again or are they treated like a tier 1 or 2 merchants? Credorax is working on this specific challenge through our VIP service approach, in which we provide each client with around-the-clock service.
Although working with small merchants can be labour intensive, the reward for seeing small businesses thrive and grow goes beyond just financial reward for any merchant service provider. We are eager to see what’s in store for mPOS for both small and large merchants in the coming months.