Is your business considering accepting Apple Pay? Staying on the cutting edge of mobile payments technology is one of the wisest investments a small business can make. But is your business ready for Apple's new mobile payments service?
Rumored to launch this Fall — Oct. 20, to be exact — Apple Pay is one of the most anticipated technologies for consumers and as well as businesses. Not only will the technology finally let customers pay for purchases with their iPhones, but industry analysts also expect it to change the mobile wallet landscape by pushing widespread adoption of mobile payment systems. And if you're a small business, accepting Apple Pay can give you a competitive edge by giving customers what they are looking for.
To help you prepare for Apple Pay, Jim Salmon, vice president of business services at Navy Federal Credit Union, one of a select few financial institutions and the only credit union to offer Apple Pay, shared the following tips for small businesses planning to adopt Apple Pay. [Apple Pay: Top 3 Features for Small Business Owners]
1. Talk to merchant credit card processors
Does your current POS system have a contactless reader? If not, does your POS system provider offer them?
Apple Pay uses near-field communication (NFC) to process payments. Customers hold their iPhones next to an NFC reader, and the phone will vibrate once checkout is done. If you don't already have an NFC reader and plan to accept Apple Pay, now is the time to discuss it with your POS vendor or credit card processor.
Salmon suggests engaging in an open dialogue with merchant card processors to see what NFC and Apple Pay options they offer. Also ask about potential costs, such as equipment and transaction fees.
2. Communicate with customers
What do your customers want? Is Apple Pay something they are interested in or are likely to use?
Apple Pay aims to increase customer satisfaction by making checkout fast and easy. It also gives customers another way to pay for purchases based on their preferences, such as those who don't want to carry around cash and credit cards, and particularly those who can't live without their iPhones. Depending on your business and the types of customers you have, Apple Pay may be the best investment you could make.
To that end, Salmon advises small business owners to communicate with customers. There is, however, a window of time before the mobile wallet will become an expectation for customers, he added.
3. Keep an eye on competitors
What are your competitors doing? Are they early adopters of Apple Pay and other types of mobile payment systems?
If your competitors have started accepting Apple Pay, you don't want to be left behind. Salmon warns against the negative impact of not keeping up with new technologies — eventually, retailers should be able to accept all forms of payment, and being able to accept Apple Pay will give you that competitive edge.
Salmon suggests keeping an eye on competitors and seeing what types of payments they accept so you can time your own adoption accordingly. Large stores will naturally adopt mobile wallets sooner than smaller ones, but that's actually to your advantage, Salmon pointed out. By watching how Apple Pay and other mobile payment systems perform with larger retailers, smaller businesses can learn which types of mobile wallets are becoming more widely used and whether Apple Pay is right for them.
Originally published on Business News Daily.