NFC Payment Guide: Are You Prepared for Mobile Payments?

By: on April 28, 2016

If you’re a retailer, you want your payment process to be as easy as possible so you can devote your resources to acquiring new customers so they can purchase your products.

An efficient and capable POS system can manage every step of a customer’s journey to purchase, but you also need to be ready to accept their preferred payment methods.

Mobile payment apps such as Apple Pay are becoming increasingly popular among customers. In this article, we’ll break down the most popular mobile payment apps and help you decide if you should spend resources to be able to accept them.

(Click on a link below to jump to that section.)

Most Popular Mobile Payment Apps
Should You Accept NFC Payment Options?
How Do You Choose a Point of Sale System that Accepts NFC Payments?

Most Popular Mobile Payment Apps

A search for the most popular payment options (also called mobile wallets) will return three big players: Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay.

Apple Pay and Android Pay are similar in that they only operate through Near Field Communication (NFC) capabilities.

According to Smart Card Alliance, a not-for-profit association advocating for NFC technology, these systems couldn’t be easier to use:

To pay [with NFC payment options], the consumer simply brings the phone to within a few inches of a contactless payment-capable POS system and the transaction occurs.

Mobile payment apps offer customers a convenient way to pay. As Smart Card Alliance states, customers only need to tap or wave their NFC-enabled smartphones at the payment terminal.

Apple Pay accepted on Square’s Contactless Reader via Square

Apple Pay accepted on Square’s Contactless Reader via Square

In addition to these qualities, NFC is highly secure. As Square states on their site, “NFC mobile payments are dynamically encrypted, making them one of the most secure ways to pay.”

Samsung Pay operates via NFC as well as magnetic secure transfer (MST). This alternative to NFC payments may sound complex and confusing, but it’s nothing more than the magnetic stripe card reader technology that’s been around for decades.

As Samsung explains:

Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) is a technology that emits a magnetic signal that mimics the magnetic strip on a traditional payment card. MST sends a magnetic signal from your device to the payment terminal’s card reader (to emulate swiping a physical card without having to upgrade the terminal’s software or hardware).

Samsung Pay processed via MST via Samsung Mobile USA

Samsung Pay processed via MST via Samsung Mobile USA

As you can see, Apple and Android Pay offer the same conveniences as Samsung Pay. The differentiating factor is that Samsung Pay works anywhere with a mag-stripe reader. If you can swipe credit cards, your store is already compatible with Samsung Pay.

If you are already able to process mag-stripe payments, including Samsung Pay, then the question you have to ask yourself is whether your store needs to accept Apple and/or Android Pay. In other words…

Should You Accept NFC Payment Options?

If you’re worried about accepting mobile payments, there’s a simple question you need to answer:

Is your customer experience suffering because customers can’t use Apple or Android Pay?

The March 2016 Federal Consumer and Mobile Financial Services Report paints a telling picture of the state of consumer usage of mobile payment apps. It found that only 9 percent of consumers surveyed have used a mobile payment app to make an in-store payment.

The same study found that 80 percent of respondents who haven’t used a mobile payment app say it is because they believe cash and/or credit/debit cards are easier.

In other words, there’s a staggeringly small percentage of consumers actually using mobile payments and still a ton of consumer awareness necessary to legitimize these new payment options.

How Do You Choose a Point of Sale System that Accepts NFC Payments?

While all this data is great, it’s only meaningful within the context of your business.

If a lack of NFC capabilities is negatively affecting your customer experience, then you should strongly consider acquiring the necessary components.

  • For information about adopting a point of sale system that enables NFC payments, check out our catalog of top POS systems. You can read user reviews for firsthand accounts of the systems in question.
  • You can also take advantage of the free consultations we offer merchants. One of our retail POS experts can help provide a shortlist of POS systems that are best for you. Just complete our retail questionnaire and someone will be in touch right away.

You may also like:

4 Must-Have Retail POS Software Features to Boost Business Efficiency

The 10 Most Popular Retail POS Products

Retail POS Software Buyer’s Guide

Compare POS Software