Small businesses, independent contractors, and mobile storefronts are starting to embrace mobile payments. That’s because these systems are tailor-made for business owners who don’t want to spend money on processing equipment, but who still want to accept credit card payments from customers.
But what’s surprising is that other types of businesses are also jumping on the mobile payments bandwagon. Here are five of the most intriguing industries getting in on this hot trend.
1) Electric vehicle charging stations - There were just over 15,000 charging stations for electric and hybrid vehicles in the U.S. at the end of the 2012. Some of them — in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC — are now being outfitted to accept mobile payments. SemaConnect’s public charging stations will allow drivers to use their smartphones to pay for the electricity needed to power their vehicles.
2) “Big box” stores - Many Americans enjoy shopping at warehouse retailers, but see it as a tradeoff between lower prices and having to pay with cash or a check, since most big box stores have limited credit card options. But that model may be changing as Sam’s Club starts offering mobile payments. Now, shoppers at Sam’s Club (many of whom are small business owners themselves) can pay for merchandise using their mobile phones.
3) Luxury brand stores - Often, high-end retailers tend to eschew modern ways of doing business in favor of embracing “old-school” personalized service. But Burberry Stores is bucking the trend by introducing mobile payment options in its U.S. stores. Now, customers can pay the associate that assists them, anywhere in the store, rather than having to wait at a checkout counter.
4) Lottery retailers - Since you can buy anything with mobile payments, why not buy the chance to win more money? People in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area can now use their digital devices to buy Powerball or MegaMillions lottery tickets at over three dozen ATMs or gas stations. The lottery numbers are sent electronically to their tablets or smartphones, and winnings (of up to $599) are automatically deposited into their bank accounts!
5) Automated teller machines - It may seem counterintuitive to use mobile payments devices to receive hard currency. But that’s precisely what’s happening in Istanbul, Turkey with IsBank. Here’s how it works: Banking customers use their mobile phones to “pre-stage” an ATM withdrawal. They authenticate their account information and set an amount of money to be withdrawn; then when they arrive at an ATM, they simply scan a QR code at the machine and pick up their cash. The whole process takes about ten seconds.