Mobile Card Payment: An Overview

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • The advantages of mobile card payment systems
  • The process of accepting payments via a mobile phone
  • The security measures afforded by a mobile payment machine

Until recent history, mobile payments that businesses in the UK could accept have been quite limited.

Electronic funds transfer at point of sale (EFTPOS) machines offered some degree of mobility by allowing payments to be accepted with a handheld device unit that was connected to a nearby base station.

These EFTPOS machines rapidly gained popularity in restaurants and bars as they allowed customers to conveniently pay from their table without having to walk over to the till to pay. But even these machines were not fully mobile.

Businesses across the UK have been waiting for a fully mobile card payment system—a mobile point of sale (mPOS) system, one that’s not bound to a base unit but that can be used to process transactions anytime, anywhere.

The technology for such a system is now here.

Using Mobile Technology for Card Payments

Although processing payments entirely via mobile is still not the norm for UK companies, many types of businesses are rapidly embracing the technology as it allows for an advantageous degree of flexibility.

For instance, salesmen who must to be out on the road to obtain orders often use mPOS machines to read a card before processing a transaction when at clients’ businesses or homes.

Remarkably, this can be done any place that a smart device, such as a mobile phone or tablet, can get a signal.

mobile-card-payment-tablet-phone

Mobile technology has opened up payment possibilities that were previously near impossible with a fixed terminal such as outdoor marketplaces, pop-up shops or temporary exhibition centres.

Today, just about any location in the UK can be a place for cards to be quickly processed, meaning customers have more payment options and likely, less waiting time in queues where a mPOS is present.

The Security of Mobile Payment Systems

Many of the same security measures that are in place with the tried-and-tested EFTPOS machines are also available for mobile transactions. For example, payments can only be made with the cardholder present.

Additionally, similar to a standard payment terminal, mobile apps allow customers to review the amount requested and to even add gratuity at their discretion.

mobile payments features

The data that is sent between the mobile device and the merchant provider, that is, the company which contacts the card issuer to seek a transfer of funds, is also encrypted.

This means that customers can confidently use the system to make a payment, even if they have never used mPOS technology before (which is becoming more and more unlikely as this payment method is becoming more commonplace).

Chip and PIN via Mobile POS

UK consumers are using contactless methods of paying for goods and services in greater numbers. Mobile payment services,can easily handle these types of secure transactions.

Many consumers are familiar with the chip in their card, which is read by most EFTPOS terminals before a transaction is made and provides additional security due to its encryption of the card’s data.

In addition, they are likely to only be comfortable with approving payments after entering their four-digit personal identification number, or PIN.

Customers can find this same comfort when making a mobile card payment on a small handheld card reader by entering their PIN. This action prompts the smart device to securely process the rest of the transaction.

card payments and mobile devices

From a customer's point of view, there really is no difference between using mobile technology or a standard EFTPOS terminal.

Indeed, many card readers can also handle contactless NFC transactions. UK consumers are using contactless methods of paying for goods and services in greater numbers, either via debit or credit cards. Mobile payment services, with a proper card reader, like SumUp's, can easily handle these types of secure transactions.

The Fully Internet-Enabled Approach

Not only does a mobile system for card payments allow the internet to handle a transaction via the mobile’s network provider but also it lets the merchant make a transaction from anywhere, whether it be within or away from the storefront.

For example, should a customer desire an automated invoice following a payment, an mPOS system can easily send them one via text or email. Furthermore, mobile payment apps are fully functioning with both Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, allowing for an easy integration of phones and the mPOS system.


In Summary

Mobile card payment machines in the UK are not only the future, they are the now. This technology allows businesses to securely accept credit card payments anywhere there’s service for a mobile phone, opening up an array of new possibilities.

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