mobile payments

iStock_000005026278Small Golden Gate Bridge

I just returned from a trip to San Francisco, where my family took a spring break vacation. It was a great trip in every way, but while I was there I noticed something that surprised me. I didn’t see many more mobile payment systems that I do back home in St. Louis.

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There’s no denying that mobile credit card processing is all the rage. I bet most people reading this post have seen an ad on television for Square, and you probably receive several questions each week from merchants wanting to understand the latest technology and know which solution is right for their business.

While it’s exciting to witness the convergence of mobile with the payments industry, it can also create a lot of confusion, both for merchant level salespeople and the businesses they serve. After all, there are many different solutions in the marketplace and it’s hard to tell which one is best.

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mobile-payments

It’s no secret that “mobile payments” is a buzz phrase in the card processing industry. Last week’s Mobile Contactless Payments Innovation Summit showcased the tremendous amount of activity around mobile commerce and mobile payment processing solutions.

In fact, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the wide array of new products and services that are announced on a daily basis. As one speaker at the conference joked, the current environment is very good for payments consultants and payments publications.

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Most of us are familiar with the phrase, “The check is in the mail.” It is often said in jest to indicate that someone is not quite ready to deliver what they owe you, which could be money, a document, or something else. It also harkens back to the days when checks were the dominant form of payment, before credit and debit cards became popular payment processing solutions.

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mobile-payments

There’s no denying the fact that mobile payments are the hottest thing going in the credit card transaction processing industry. It seems as if every industry article and company announcement is touting some aspect of mobile payments. The trend continued at the ETA Annual Meeting & Expo, which was held two weeks ago in Las Vegas. While I believe in the long-term use of mobile devices for processing credit card payments, I have yet to be “wowed” by the current solutions in the market.

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If you were not among the 400 merchant services providers at last week’s Southeast Acquirers Association (SEAA) Annual Seminar in Dallas, I will provide the key highlights. Hopefully these insights will help you improve your credit card processing business.

The star of the show was the weather, as an epic thunderstorm that hit Dallas on the first day of the show, causing many flights to be delayed or canceled. The weather certainly impacted attendance, but did not slow down those who made it. Here are my key takeaways:

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mobile-wallet

The ETA hosted its first ever Mobile Commerce Summit on October 25 in Chicago. The summit highlighted the current state of mobile small business credit card processing. Despite a dizzying array of new products, it’s still very early with a long way to go. You don’t need to panic if you feel like you are lagging behind, but you do need to understand how these innovations could impact merchant service providers.

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MWAA Conference

Last week, the MidWest Acquirers Association (MWAA) held its 9th Annual Conference in the Chicago suburb of Oak Brook. The Clearent team had many great conversations with ISOs who are seeking a better merchant services provider. For those who were unable to attend, I will list my highlights from the panel discussions.

Mobile Is Still a Hot Topic

It probably won’t surprise you that mobile payments was a major theme at the conference, as the industry continues to innovate with ways to use mobile devices for processing credit card payments. Jack Dorsey, the founder of Square, was the keynote speaker at last year’s MWAA conference. At the time, Square was not much more than a curiosity in the payment processing industry, but now many agents are accustomed to getting questions about Square.

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In case you missed this prior to the 4th of July holiday, the PCI Security Standards Council updated its stance on the PCI compliance process for mobile payment applications. What are the key takeaways from the most recent update?

What is the update?

The PCI Security Standards Council determined that a major risk factor for mobile payment security is the “environment” of the mobile payment application. By “environment” they mean the device itself and the software that runs on the device.

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Until there is an official list of certified mobile payment applications, ISOs and merchants will have to judge the security of mobile apps for themselves. Previously, I summarized Visa’s recently announced best practices for mobile payments. These guidelines will serve as the de facto standard until the PCI Security Standards Council finalizes its plan for validating the PCI DSS compliance of mobile payment applications. For example, ROAM Data recently announced that it follows Visa’s recommendations.

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