Mobile payments that UK businesses can accept have been limited until recently. In the past, payment terminals have offered some degree of mobility since EFTPOS (electronic funds transfer at point of sale) machines started to used encrypted data transfers between a hand held unit and their base stations. These devices were rapidly taken up by the catering industry, especially bars and restaurants, so that customers could pay at their table without having to walk over to the till in order to enter their PIN number into the card terminal. Although this has allowed certain retailers a greater degree of flexibility, it cannot be described as a fully mobile card payment system. Nonetheless, SumUp's smartphone app really does mean that debit and credit cards can now be used for transactions in just about any given situation.
Using Mobile Technology for Card Payments
Although fully mobile payments for UK companies is still not the norm, many types of business are taking up the technology. For instance, firms which rely on salespeople to be out on the road to obtain orders often use mobile card payment machines to read a card before processing a transaction in the field. Crucially, this can be done any place that a smart device, such as a mobile phone or tablet, can get a signal to the outside world.
Another place where mobile technology is seeing increased take up is in marketplaces where a fixed payment terminal would be impractical, perhaps because it is in an outdoor setting or in a temporary premises, like an exhibition centre. Nowadays, just about any location in the UK will allow for cards to be processed without customers having to wait.
Common Features 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. Payments are still made with the card holder present. Just like a normal payment terminal, mobile apps allow the customer to review the amount being requested and even to add a gratuity at their discretion, it wanted. The data that is sent between the mobile device and the merchant provider – the company that actually contacts the card issuer to seek a transfer of funds – is also encrypted, just like a wireless terminal. This means that customers can feel very confident about using the system to make a payment, even if they have never used such mobile payment technology before.
Does Chip and PIN Work?
Many consumers are familiar with the chip in their card which is read by most EFTPOS terminals before a transaction is made. In addition, they are likely to be comfortable with approving payments only after they have entered their four-digit personal identification number, or PIN. With a mobile card payment, the vendor will often need to manually type in the card holder's number and expiration date into the app on their smart device. This can lead to some British clients worrying about their personal data. However, a mobile card payment can be made with a small hand held card reader which allows customers to enter their PIN. It communicates with the corresponding smart device which then handles the rest of the transaction.
From a customer's point of view, there really is no difference using mobile technology, therefore, compared with a normal EFTPOS terminal. Indeed, some card readers can also handle contactless NFC transactions, if wanted. UK consumers are using contactless methods of paying for goods and services in greater numbers, either from debit or credit cards, or from enabled smart devices. Mobile payment services, with the correct sort of card reader, like SumUp's, can handle these sorts of secure transaction.
The Fully Internet-Enabled Approach
Not only does a mobile system for card payments allow the internet to handle the transaction via the mobile network but, following the authorisation, the whole system is net-enabled, closing the loop as it were. For example, customers can be sent an automated invoice by text message or e-mail, if wanted and depending on their preference, following a payment. Furthermore, mobile payment apps are fully functioning with both Android and iOS smartphones and tablets.