Cash, Credit or Phone: Get More Customers by Dialing Into Mobile Payments

Got Mobile? Two giant retail chains recently rolled out a mobile payment strategy and you can too. If you have any contact with consumers, you must. Why? Mobile helps you sell to more customers and — more important — know more about your customers.

  • The pay-with-phone champion is… Starbucks.  Did you know that all 6,600 Starbucks stores offer a mobile payment option?  During 2011, Starbucks customers spent $110 million via their phones in 26 million transactions.  That’s 393 phone payments per store EACH MONTH… more than 1 mobile pay customer each hour for every store they have.  Customers flash a bar code on their phone and the payment is complete. Next!
  • Sandwich shop Subway is close behind.  This year (2012) Subway will roll out 7,000 “tap-to-pay” terminals at Subway restaurants across the USA.  (See video top-right, but be sure to watch the WHOLE thing.)

So what’s your next move?  Its’ not as complex as you might think.

In fact, smart phones are quickly becoming the universal platform, so anything you do to enable payments by phone will get you closer to the goal.  Here are a few of the newest members of the mobile payment technology family tools.


  • The Square (pictured above) –   Less than a year old, and squares all over the country are already processing $10 million each day.  No kidding.  This has changed everything about accepting credit cards.  You no longer need a merchant account, a gateway, or a credit check.  You only need this simple attachment (for Androids, iPhone or iPad) and bingo — you can accept credit card payments anywhere and everywhere.  Customers authorize payments, sign and even tip by touching the screen of your mobile device. Receipts are automatically sent to customers via email. Squares are free for the asking online and for a small (rebatable) fee at BestBuy.  Try it!
  • The Intuit GoPayment  —  Similar to the Square but works hand in hand with QuickBooks.  Oh, and it’s round instead of square.  ‘Nuff said.
  • Mopay – One of the newer ones, “mopay,” brags that it enables any Internet-connected device to make payments.  Think of it.  My TV is Internet-connected.  So is my game console and my phone.  Even my radio, refrigerator, and thermostats are all tied to the Internet.


  • Isis – Combining loyalty cards and credit cards, Isis will help retailers keep track of their customers and what they buy.  This joint effort by AT&T, T-Mobile USA and Verizon allows users to make secure payments, store loyalty cards and redeem offers at participating vendors with a simple tap of their phone. Isis works by storing loyalty card number, account details and purchase records in a virtual wallet. Buyers simply type a pin number into the Isis application on their phone, and the retailer gets everything he needs for payment and purchase tracking.
  • iPhone5 – Ready for kids with credit cards? Apple’s iPhone5 is widely expected to include the iWallet, which will allow parents to give their kids limited (or unlimited) access to credit cards and bank accounts.  The kid carries the phone, taps it on your register, and you get to send the charge right to daddy.  Bravo!

Any company that has contact with consumers must have a mobile payment strategy.   I recently hired a carpet cleaner who… you guessed it… swiped my credit card using a Square before he even started cleaning my carpets!  Contractors, restaurants, retailers, doctors, service providers, even B2B companies can all benefit from making payment easier for their customers.

Want to learn more? Start by reviewing my prior post on mobile payment options.  Then commit to trying ONE THING.  There is no wrong answer.  You can change you mind later. (Starbucks admits that they likely change their current bar-code setup when more phones have “tap-to-pay”.)  But you must get started.

It’s clear that mobile payment technology is here to stay, so don’t get left behind!

Dedicated to your (mobile) profits,


Originally Published

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