G’day, Australian businesses. Here’s an interesting fact: as of mid-2015, nearly half of you were accepting digital payments from your customers using Paypal or some other similar digital wallet/mobile app. Here’s a more interesting fact from the same source: for those of you who’ve been taking these alternative payment methods, 64% describe them as critical to their business. Maybe more than any other country, Australians have willingly embraced modern payment technologies—customers are demanding them and businesses are rising to meet that demand. Half of you are, anyway.
What about the other half? What are you waiting for? Digital wallets have shown themselves to be more than just a passing fad. And if you’ve been in business for at least the last 5 years, you’ve seen how quick your customers are to adopt new payment technology. In 2006, Commonwealth Bank started supporting contactless payments via Mastercard’s PayPass and Visa’s PayWave. By 2010, 4 million Australians were using their Tap-and-Go cards for everyday purchases. Four years after that, nearly half the country was participating, and PayWave use alone hovered at 28 million transactions a month. All signs point to a country that is losing its interest in using cash: By the end of 2015, ATM withdrawals were down 5.5% from the previous year (when they were down 4.7% from the year before that). Also noteworthy: cheque use decreased by 16.3% from 2014 to 2015, and over 42% in the four years prior—just in case you were thinking that was the payment type picking up the slack left by the drop in cash transactions.
So, I have to ask the question again: what are you waiting for?
It couldn’t be cost: transaction fees are lower with mobile payments than for credit cards. The equipment required isn’t going to break your wallet (and if you already take Tap-and-Go, there’s a good chance you’ve already got the right hardware).
It couldn’t be complexity: setting up alternative payment types on a modern and mobile point of sale is a matter of a few button taps and some login credentials. Maybe it’s just that your POS doesn’t support mobile payments? In that case, the question becomes: why are you still using that POS? At its worst, a point of sale should help you to sustain your business. If it doesn’t support the ways your customers (potential or current) want to pay you, then it’s working against your sustainability. Besides, the best POS solutions are designed to do more than just help you maintain your business—they should help you grow. One of the ways that POS developers do this is by making sure that their software supports a wide variety of payment types—the more of these you can accept, the bigger your customer base becomes. Integrating multiple and modern payment methods can help you grow your business in a number of ways.
Finally, it couldn’t be that there isn’t a demand amongst your customers. Don’t be fooled into thinking the statistics and linked articles above are only telling the story of Tap-and-Go cards. Payment with a mobile phone is essentially a Tap-and-Go process, the only difference being that the card has been virtualised into software. 79% of Australians own smartphones, which is another way of saying 79% of Australians are going to grow tired of keeping a device in one pocket and a wallet in the other. The technology is already here to consolidate it all right onto the phone. The shops that make it easier for them to ditch the extra baggage are going to earn their business—and loyalty. And the ones that don’t? They’ll be tossed aside, in the same forgotten heap with all those old-school wallets.