The Shopable Series: Making Money Mobile

July 25, 2016         By: Erika Napoletano

In late 2015, Accenture, a leading global consulting services firm, published a survey detailing the state of mobile payments,[1] and they anticipated a steady rise in consumers’ use of digital payment methods such as Apple Pay. They also reported that 52 percent of consumers have a high awareness of mobile payments – a 9 percent increase over 2014. Additionally, 19 percent of U.S. consumers are using their mobile devices regularly to make payments at merchants.

So what does this mean for merchants? Ultimately, mobile payments are here to stay and consumer attention and use is on the upswing. In a world increasingly ruled by convenience and personalization, consumers are interested in having their money at the ready, how and when they want it. Let’s have a look at mobile payments and how they can put businesses in the pockets of the most tech-savvy customers.

The benefits of in-store mobile payments

We’ve never been patient when it comes to waiting in line. These days, consumers are looking for speed and security when they pay, and mobile payments offer both. With mobile payments, customers don’t have to search for cash or a card to pay, and can still quickly and securely check out at the register. Since a consumer’s phone is probably already in their hand, whether they are using it to browse a merchant’s mobile app or check their email, it’s easier than ever to use it to pay, as well.

Does making payments via mobile phones offer convenience? Definitely. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits mobile payments offer customers and merchants alike.

“Smartphones could enhance payment security as transactions with the major mobile wallets are EMV-grade transactions, and the phone is introducing additional security features ahead of a transaction, such as fingerprint recognition and PIN input,” said Alisa Ellis, Vice President of Global Products & Solutions at Discover.

Additionally, according to Ellis, merchants could be thinking about how to integrate their existing or future loyalty program with major mobile wallets, or their own proprietary payment platforms, due to this growing level of interest among consumers in leveraging their phones to pay.

Now, how are mobile payments set up in stores? It all begins with a conversation.

How merchants can go mobile

“The first conversation for merchants is with their point-of-sale merchant services provider,” said Ellis. “Most merchant service providers allow seamless incorporation of mobile payments into existing POS experience.”

A merchant services provider can help explore the options for enabling contactless payment technology to in-store POS processing systems. By accepting major digital wallets such as Android Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay, merchants gain access to loyal Discover cardholders.

How to expand an existing mobile app

Beyond accepting major digital wallets in stores, merchants may be interested in bringing mobile payment functionality into their proprietary app, which is an endeavor that a partner such as Discover Network can help achieve.

Retailers with mobile apps already know how important apps are to staying connected to customers when they’re not physically in your store. By adding payments to the app, consumers can checkout on-the-go. Through a conversation with a mobile app developer, leveraging the expertise of a mobile payments provider, and some development time, merchants can have their mobile app equipped with digital wallet acceptance – bringing full-circle their mobile payments acceptance strategy between physical and online channels.

In fact, merchants can even take the payment functionality that has been introduced to their app one step further and leverage it in their store for payments as well, turning it into their own wallet option for customers. All told, these mobile integrations can drive greater engagement with customers and encourage greater loyalty among tech-savvy consumers.

This article was brought to you by Discover Network. For more insights into consumer trends and the world of payments, visit Discover Network Perspectives.

[1] Accenture, “2015 North America Consumer Digital Payments Survey”