If you have done any in-person, or even online retail in the past year a customer has probably asked if your business accepts Google Pay or Apple Pay. Expect to hear a lot more of that question. According to one study, the mobile payment market was worth $800 billion dollars in 2019 and is expected to reach 8 TRILLION (with a T) by 2027. As a small business, it might seem intimidating to figure out how to accept these digital payments at your market or farm stand, or even with your online sales. However, the process is painless, and fee free (your normal POS transaction fees still apply).
What is a Point of Sale (POS) System?
A point of sale is the place where you make a sale or your customer makes a purchase. This includes farmer’s market booths, farmstands, online ordering platforms, etc. A POS system is the combination of hardware and software that allows for this transaction to occur. For example, you might use Square hardware to process in-person card sales at a farmer’s market, but might only use Square software for online payment processing. Simply put, anytime you sell a good or service to a customer, that is a point of sale transaction.
To start accepting these payment systems, your Point-of-Sale (POS) systems have to be NFC-enabled. Near Field Communication (NFC) allows contactless payment from smartphones, watches, and most chipped debit/cards, and uses radio frequency identification (RFID) and a lot of other fancy science to send, encrypt and receive the payment information.
When looking at POS systems, the NFC feature adds about $30 to the cost of a base system. If you already have a system and aren’t looking to upgrade, most companies offer a smaller NFC reader as an add-on, usually between $20-$30. However, being able to accept these contactless forms of payment should pay for itself pretty quickly.
The table below includes some popular and affordable POS system options.
The increased capabilities of smartphones, watches and tablets to secure personal information has made consumers more comfortable with using digital wallets as forms of payment. This trend is only going to continue as more young people who have been raised with devices in their hands at all times become shoppers. In their eyes, cash or credit cards are cumbersome, easily lost or stolen, and unnecessary when the same transaction can happen with an on-person device.
Google Pay and Apple Pay both require the customer to use a biometric scan (fingerprint of face scan) or a passcode to authorize an in-person payment, and a unique transaction ID is created for the sale, adding an extra layer of cybersecurity. Compared to debit/credit cards, the opportunities for fraud are significantly reduced, and as a business owner that could translate to less disputed or fraudulent charge claims to deal with.
As COVID precautions continue to change and adapt, it’s best to be on the side of caution and try to reduce the need for contact as much as possible. Digital payments reduce the need for signatures on your terminal, although Apple Pay may require a signature on purchases above $50.
Setting up a merchant account for Apple Pay requires NFC-enabled hardware and up-to-date software, and that’s about it. It’s compatible with all major POS providers (Clover, PayPal, Square, Stripe), and integrates with most ecommerce platforms and shopping carts (Shopify, Squarespace, Weebly etc).
Like Apple Pay, Google Pay for merchants only requires an NFC ready POS terminal and up-to-date software to get started. As expected, most major online shopping options will easily integrate with Google Pay, and in many cases it is accepted by default. If you have an online storefront, check your shopping cart and checkout settings to make sure you have Google and Apple Pay enabled. There are no extra transaction fees with Google Pay.
Beyond being a digital payment method, Google Pay is very feature rich and offers a number of interesting opportunities to merchants. You can set up loyalty rewards, gift cards and rebates which is great for encouraging returning customers. You can also set proximity alerts, so a returning farmer’s market customer might get a notification and a coupon from your business.
Ultimately, accepting digital payments from Google Pay and Apple Pay is a win-win. As a business it makes sense to provide as many payment options to your customers as possible, and aside from maybe an initial hardware upgrade, there are really no out-of-pocket costs.
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