Is 2015 the year when digital payments take over?

For merchants considering a new payment processing system, the future seems to be filled with digital technology. The most recent addition to the conversation surrounding mobile payments is the Apple Watch, which is slated for commercial release on April 24, 2015 in select countries, according to Tech Radar. Besides changing the world of wearable devices and the expectations of what a watch can do, the technology will likely have an impact on the way merchants interact with their customers. It continues the ongoing - and exciting - discussion of mobile payments, especially in the context of Apple Pay.

Is it fashion, function or entertainment?
Beyond telling time, there is a fairly long list of apps that the watch will feature. Standing out among them is Apple Pay and Passbook because they work without having to connect with an iPhone. That means that in a few months merchants may see consumers walking through the doors expecting to pay with their Apple Watch instead of with their iPhone. The question facing business owners is how to capitalize on the device. Here are a couple of considerations that they should keep in mind.

"Mobile commerce increased 28 percent in 2014 to hit $31.6 billion."

First, the fundamental requirement is having a point-of-sale system that allows for Near Field Communication (NFC) transactions, such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet. For merchants that have already upgraded their POS terminals to accept the branded application, it will likely be a simple matter of keeping employees aware of the option of paying with their Apple Watches.

Second, Multichannel Merchant explained there could be marketing opportunities created by using the device. For instance, businesses with a social media presence may be able to deliver personalized promotions, such as coupons, to consumers who own the Apple Watch. As a result, they can access the offer in stores, increasing the likelihood they'll redeem the offer.

The reality facing many business owners is that mobile commerce is growing. A recent article for PYMNTS.com indicated mobile commerce increased 28 percent to hit $31.6 billion in 2014. As a result, merchants should consider what mobile technology can bring to their businesses.

Do you want to improve and expand your payment processing capabilities? Learn how First American Payment Systems can help.

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