The average business owner spends at least 12 hours per week managing his or her business while on-the-go.1 Before the surge of mobile payments and the digital wallet, for a small business using invoicing, collecting payments and managing receivables was a task that had to be done back in the office or at home.
There is no denying that mobile payments are an extremely powerful tool, and arguably, will completely evolve the way consumers pay for goods and services in the future. (See why mobile payments made the Final Four in our March Madness inspired infographic: “The Madness of Getting Paid.” We pinned the many different payment tools available for business owners in head-to-head matchups, competing on speed to get paid and cost-effectiveness.)
Aside from the hyped apps we hear about that you can use to pay for your coffee or have an attendant swipe your card to get into a comedy show, how are small businesses using the technology?
Shelly Blanco, co-owner of the Martial Arts Center in Toledo, Ohio, uses PaySimple’s mobile payments app to collect payments for merchandise and even tuition from her students. “I love the app on my phone!,” she explains.
“My favorite part of my job is being out on the mats and teaching the students, not being in my office,” Shelly said. “We don’t want students to have to carry cash and checks when they come in, and we don’t want that to prevent them from making purchases in our school. Now, whenever a student says ‘Oh, I don’t have my credit card with me,’ I just grab my phone and pull them up and [the payment] just goes through. It’s one less thing I have to be in my office for!”
The key part of Shelly’s statement is that she could “pull them up.” Meaning this is a customer already in her system, and she can access that student’s payment account remotely.
Yesterday, our CEO Eric Remer, spoke on a panel about mobile payments and digital wallets at Bank Innovation 2012. While much of the talk consisted of debating how Google and Apple will make their next play in the mobile payments space, few were talking about how many of mobile payment apps available make (or don’t) make sense for small businesses right now.
If a technology is developed that creates a payment acceptance point separate from the rest of the business operations, the process creates yet another pain point for a business owner. Great, they were able to take a payment in-person on their phone. Now what? Where can they access a report of that payment, and does it record it into the customer record so that the owner doesn’t spend hours trying to reconcile it all back together? If the customer asked, can the business owner set up a billing schedule for that customer using that payment information? For many of the “hot” mobile technologies out there, the answer is “no.”
Until mobile payments synced with a cloud-based business management software becomes mainstream, we’ll continue to see small businesses hesitant to use the technology—and rightly so.
Hint – You’ll see the winner of our payment tournament allows a business owner to accept a mobile payment and automatically sync that payment with a cloud-based software. That’s the winning combination that gives a business owner true “mobile” freedom.