10/23/2014

Why Small Businesses May Not Take a Bite Out of Apple Pay

Rhende Wilton October 23rd, 2014
Categories
Payments

Somewhere in the U.S. there are probably still some small businesses that are operating free of technology, but they’re getting rarer every day.

Technology can help small business owners accomplish more with less – less staff, less time and money, fewer mistakes. You get the picture. Small business owners are becoming less afraid to embrace technology, and they might even be thinking about sinking their teeth into Apple Pay – especially if they already have an iPhone.

But don’t take that bite just yet. If you are anything like me, I carefully select my apples, checking for dents and other blemishes. I certainly don’t want any brown mushy spots!

Many small businesses will want to take the same approach when it comes to selecting their ePayments solution. In fact, our research into what small businesses want in an e-payment solution reveals three potential blemishes or brown spots on the otherwise shiny concept of Apple Pay.

Widely Accepted

For example, Deluxe polled SBOs and found that in order for an ePayments  solution to really work for them, it has to be widely accepted. SBOs don’t have the time to resolve payment problems, and they don’t want to deal with the reputational risks of using a payment method that may or may not get the payment through as promised.

Apple Pay relies on near-field technology (a.k.a. NFC) to move small bits of data from one device to another. While this is pretty slick, NFC technology isn’t yet in wide use across the country. It may be in the future, but it’s sure not there yet. This could really slow the adaption of a technology like this.

Security

Likely not a surprise to anyone, but a cybersecurity breach can cause major damage in any size business. Small businesses said security was a top consideration for an ePayments  solution.

Small business owners want a payment method that not only is secure, but also looks secure to everyone they do business with. Perception is as important as reality when it comes to building trust. Because Apple Pay is so new, it’s security has yet to be really tested.

One security expert told CNBC that the way the system works, it could place every device that uses it at risk. Could that mean that a breach or attack would not only compromise your own systems but also anyone who paid you with Apple Pay? This uncertainty and the newness of the solution might scare off small business owners who don’t expect to become payment security experts to trust a payment method, and quite honestly, don’t have the resources or risk tolerance to really get to know if there is a danger with using this new payment method.

Remittance Data

Small businesses want and expect to be able to provide remittance data with their payments. Without remittance capability, a solution is often viewed as a consumer design that is being forced on businesses. Many consumers stopped balancing their checkbook and ledgers a long time ago when online banking became widespread, but small businesses, not so much – it’s a must. The simplicity of Apple pay might draw some consumers to it but I could see small businesses questioning if it will give them the data they need to keep their AP process in line.

The day may come when we’re all using Apple Pay to buy our morning lattes, pick up a dozen eggs on the way home from work, or buy that “sorry I forgot our anniversary” bouquet – but we’re probably not there just yet.

When it comes to buying business supplies, getting materials for the roofing job, or paying the accountant, there are stronger options out there for small businesses to make their payments.

Depending on the unique needs of a given small business, it may be still be difficult to find a 100% blemish free ePayments  option. For now, the best option may be to stick with those payment solutions that have a proven track record, the capability to provide remittance data, and multiple levels of security that they understand and trust – and those are just to name a few.

This content is accurate at the time of publication and may not be updated.