Mobile Payments – Where Do Merchants Start?

Shannon Andrade |

July 2, 2013

Mobile Payments – Where Do Merchants Start?

According to a recent survey on mobile and payments from RSR Research, 44 percent of respondents report that their current primary form of payment accepted is credit card, but 20 percent expect that some form of digital payment, including mobile, will be the primary form of payment in just three (3) years. Starbucks launched their mobile payment application in January 2011, allowing customers to pay with their smartphones. Just two years later Starbucks reports that mobile payments account for 20 percent of all credit card transactions. And, while most merchants do not have the financial resources of Starbucks, mobile is not to be ignored.

There’s no denying that a new wave of payment technologies is upon us. While most of the money being attributed to mobile payments today is consumers shopping online from a smartphone or tablet, proximity payments using technology such as near field communication (NFC) is also growing.  With a specific focus on in-store, proximity payments, Juniper Research forecasts that global NFC retail transaction values alone are expected to reach $110 billion in 2017.

One of the biggest challenges merchants face in mobile payment adoption and activation is assessing the various options and determining which will add value for your business allowing you to expand customer acquisition and retention while growing sales. Additionally, new types of reward, loyalty, gift and integrated mobile marketing solutions continue to emerge.

Merchants today – along with developers and resellers, are asking themselves the following questions.

  • Which new payment applications will reach critical mass in terms of both adoption and acceptance?
  • How do I know which to integrate and offer?
  • How quickly will these new payment and program applications be adopted?
  • When will my customers expect these offerings?
  • How secure are mobile payments?
  • How are new technologies supported and managed?
  • Which digital wallets and mobile commerce applications will yield the greatest opportunity and drive revenue growth for my business?


Unfortunately, there is no crystal ball for deciphering mobile payments. Education for is key – ensuring that you understand the various payment acceptance technologies (NFC, QR, EMV) as well as the digital wallets – Google, ISIS, PayPal and others, And, at the same time, research the growing group of integrated solutions that add value through loyalty, targeted marketing and more, like LevelUp. Ideally, you’ll choose a payment technology that offers scalability and flexibility allowing you to add new technologies as they gain traction. This type of holistic solution, integrated to a point-of-sale (POS) or as a stand-alone, will provide you with the agility you require to not only navigate the ever-changing payments landscape but also select the new mobile technologies that best support your business model and growth objectives.