With smartphones, tablets and who-knows-what next, we're living in an increasingly mobile world--and so is our money. According to Juniper Research, some $240 billion in transactions were conducted via mobile devices in 2011, with that figure expected to climb to $670 billion by 2015. Welcome to M Commerce, where not only consumers but retailers as well are cutting the cord from traditional payment transactions in favor of apps and services based on mobile devices. M Commerce actually refers to two parallel trends: the growing use of mobile wallets that allow consumers to transact purchases on their mobile device, and mobile cash registers, with which retailers can process credit cards on their phone or tablet.
Mobile wallets such as PayPal Mobile, Google Wallet and Starbucks provide a simple method for consumers to pay at the point of service. Mobile wallets may be accessed using near-field communication (NFC), a secure radio technology that enables customers to wave an NFC-enabled device near a similarly enabled terminal to complete a transaction. Alternatively, the transaction could be completed on an app without NFC. The advantage for both parties is convenience and efficiency, but retailers can also deploy targeted marketing techniques such as discounts, enhancements and purchase suggestions and aggregate information to create a fine-tuned customer profile.
With mobile cash registers, it's the merchant that is using a mobile device to process card payments--whether it's accepting payments in the field or in a traditional storefront setting. The mobile device is enabled to accept card payments--either by swiping through an attached card reader or by keying in the transaction for processing through a web browser. Payment acceptance software is often easily downloaded as an app. Both are dramatically changing how businesses transact, and will continue to do so going forward.
The future is now. These apps aren't the only ways to go mobile. Online services offered by PNC bridge the gap between mobile and online by providing an easy way for customers to send or receive money simply by using email or text messaging. Likewise, business owners can transfer money to a customer or supplier account (and vice versa) using an email address or mobile phone number.
PNC Merchant Services® offers a full range of online and mobile services to make your business life easier. To learn more, visit their website.
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