How to Make Your Customers More Comfortable with Mobile Payments

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Technology has enabled anyone to swipe credit cards using a reader attached to a mobile device. From beauty salons to garage sales, these readers are beginning to appear everywhere. Yet some customers are still reluctant to hand over a card for swiping through a smartphone or tablet, stating that they aren’t sure the card reader is legitimate.

Merchants are forced to overcome years of cautionary tales about credit card fraud. The practice of skimming, in particular, mimics the mobile reader experience in that a small credit card reader is used to capture consumers’ credit card numbers. Even when a customer is receiving something in exchange for the swipe, he may have reservations about allowing his credit card to be swiped through an unfamiliar device.

As mobile card readers continue to grow in popularity, consumers will likely grow more comfortable with these devices. In the meantime, here are a few things businesses can do to increase consumer confidence, whether they’re at a store location or selling items at an event.

Brand Yourself

If you’re away from a storefront, it’s important you make it clear you’re the company you say you are. Wear a shirt that boasts your company logo and hang signs all around. Also have supporting material available if a customer should ask to see proof that your business is a registered entity. Your customers will find you much more trustworthy if you’re selling from a fixed location, such as a booth or table your company has rented for the day, and that table’s signage clearly demonstrates it belongs to your company.

Mimic the Retail Experience

In a storefront, customers are accustomed to seeing a Point of Sale (POS) setup when checking out. For merchants operating in a set location each day, a more permanent POS solution may be in order. Instead of a handheld smartphone or tablet, a tablet can be set up on a stand with a cash drawer beneath it, along with receipt printers and card swipe devices. This setup will make the mobile card feature look similar to what is found in a retail location and the familiarity will bring comfort to customers.

Use a Trusted Brand

When it comes to card readers, there are a few names customers know. PayPal Here, Intuit GoPayment, and Square are both recognized brands, as are the names of major financial institution. If possible, ensure your card reader is clearly branded with a name your customers trust. Seeing that name will help consumers feel more comfortable about allowing you to swipe their card through it. If possible, get stickers or table tents from the card swipe provider and put those around the area where you’ll be selling. Customers like to see reliable names and they see this promotion as a sign that you are somehow in partnership with the card swipe provider.

Provide a Receipt

This can be the trickiest part of mobile processing, especially if you’re accepting payments while on the go. A receipt printer is an option if you’re at a fixed location like a flea market or convention, but it ties you to one place. For both merchants and consumers, an emailed receipt can be a great way to circumvent the need to issue a paper receipt. Some customers may not feel comfortable handing out an email address to someone who might market to them. You’ll likely be required to have an alternate method of issuing receipts in case a customer refuses to provide an email address. Whether electronic or paper-based, a receipt can give a customer the peace of mind he needs to hand over a credit card to be processed using a mobile device.

Build a Reputation

The best way to convince customers you’re trustworthy is to be trustworthy. Once you start accepting customer information, you have a responsibility to safeguard that data by using secure services and employing state-of-the-art security in everything you do. One data breach can undo years of work spent carefully crafting a reputation. Building a reputation also lets customers know they can trust your business, whether that reputation is limited to your local community or on a more widespread basis. If you’re attending an event where you’re a stranger in a strange land, establish a rapport with potential customers before and during the event by posting about your business on any event social media pages. The more familiar customers are with your brand, the more they’ll see you are a reliable company.

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Have Answers

Once you start using your card in the field, you’ll likely find some customers have questions. The way you answer these questions could make or break a sale. Carefully scrutinize all agreements from your payment processing provider and know how data is safeguarded as it travels from your phone to the processing service to the issuing bank. Also explain to the cardholder that swiping his card using your card reader is no different than swiping it using a traditional card reading device. The only difference is the software used to process the transaction, which you’ve likely downloaded from your processing service.

Be Willing to Go with Plan B

No matter how great a job you do building an environment of trust, there will be customers who still refuse to pay this way. Always be prepared to accept cash by having plenty of change on hand and a lockable drawer in which to store it. You can also give customers the option of paying you through their own mobile device, especially if you have a PayPal account. Logging into PayPal on their device, they can send payment to your email address. Verify that the payment has come through before releasing items to the customer.

Mobile card reader functionality has made it easy for businesses to accept credit card payments from anywhere. But the technology is so new, some customers are afraid to trust it. By learning as much as possible about the process, professionals can help build confidence in this transaction method. Over time, consumers will grow to trust mobile payments more and this extra layer of trust will no longer be necessary.

Posted on Wednesday, June 11th, 2014