Announced to great fanfare last month, Apple Pay launched in earnest yesterday. And while we keep hearing how big brands like Starbucks, Macy’s and Whole Foods are leading Apple’s vision of a wallet-less future, how can small, forward-looking businesses take advantage of technology that could very well become the payment method of choice for consumers? Here are three possible options to consider:
Buy a Contactless Card Reader
If you’ve got a brick and mortar location, you can upgrade your point of sale terminal to a contactless card reader, which uses near-field communication (NFC) to facilitate payments. These can cost anywhere from $100 to $1000 depending on what additional features you need. And while this may seem like an unnecessary expense in the short-term, there may be a reason to upgrade anyway: By October 2015, new regulations are requiring merchants to accept cards with EMV chips in them, or else face penalties when security breaches affect EMV card users. So, now may be a good time to bite the bullet and buy a card reader that’s both EMV and Apple Pay compatible.
Wait For Square’s New Register
Square recently announced that they’re working on a register that will accept emerging payment types like Apple Pay and Bitcoin, but also take credit cards and even checks. A scalable, future-proof “cash” register like this sounds promising, but there are no details available on when it will actually be ready and whether it will cost anything.
Use Stripe To Accept Payments (In Your App)
Yeah, this may be a longshot for a lot of business owners, but you can accept Apple Pay right now if your business has an iOS app that accepts payments using Stripe. Right now, about 20 apps – including popular apps like Lyft and Indiegogo – are using Stripe to accept Apple Payments, but expect that number to grow fast. Stripe’s relatively low transaction fees and plug-and-play integration make it a very lightweight payment processing service.
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