mPOS and the changing face of card payments

Originally published on Billing Views.

Mobile point of sale (mPOS) card payments has the potential to create massive disruption both in the high street and in other places where cash has been the only method of payment. It makes card payments available to retailers and small traders who previously couldn’t justify the expense of a Chip and PIN machine from one of the big acquirers. All they now need is a Chip and Signature or Chip and PIN device from someone like iZettle or Payleven plus their iPhone, iPad or Android device and they’re up and running. Cash isn’t going away any time soon and will continue to be the predominant method of payment for lower value transactions for years to come, however mPOS gives customers the option of card or cash. 

mPOS has the potential to disrupt the existing card acquirers’ business, especially at the lower volume end of the market. As a one or two person business why pay for expensive hardware and fixed monthly charges, especially if you expect to continue to take lots of cash payments? A pay as you go card payment model with low hardware costs makes much more sense.

There is a risk that with an increasing plethora of mPOS providers in the market, potential users will be baffled by the best option, especially as pricing is fairly consistent. However with these devices available in the high street from retailers like EE (iZettle) and Apple (Payleven) takeup should rapidly accelerate as potential users come across them in familiar surroundings.

So what’s mPOS like in the real world? A few weeks ago I helped out at a market and spent the morning taking card payments using iZettle. Not only did it make my life easier but customers loved it. It gave them choice and convenience using a flavour of a technology they’re already familiar with.

Consumers expect to be able to pay with cards whoever they buy from and mPOS gives smaller retailers and traders the opportunity to compete with bigger organisations and not lose out because they can’t take card payments. That will be the real disruption.

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