When your clients can pay more quickly or even on the spot, it’s that much easier to stay current with overhead.
A mention of “maintaining cash flow” seldom sparks passion in even the most devout entrepreneur, but ignoring this core business challenge is not an option. If a business cannot maintain consistent cash flow and meet its regular overhead costs, it may fail—even if the firm’s billings are meeting or exceeding expectations.
Lagging payments from customers is a key cause for not meeting overhead expenses. One way to attack the gap on the calendar between “Services Rendered” and “Paid” is to set your firm up to receive mobile payments. Whether it’s with a card-swipe or the wave of a smartphone, your clients can make date-of-service payments that reduce overhead and cash-flow hassles.
Mobile systems are steadily building a base. A 2016 Business Insider report projects mobile payment volume to reach $503 billion by 2020, reflecting an 80% compound annual growth rate over 2015 volume.1
Where mobile pays off best.
Medical practices, lawyers and other service providers are a good fit for mobile payment systems, since the payment terms of these service providers may vary greatly. For example, an accounting practice may currently require payments on the date of service, bill the client soon after the service date or send a monthly invoice.
Using point-of-sale (POS) technology, the firm could implement a same-day payment option or mandatory condition and promote it as a client convenience—especially if a discount incentive is included.
Surveying the mobile landscape.
Though the field is always growing, these are the key players and technologies small businesses can and should take advantage of:
- Point-of-sale systems, such as Clover® and Square, are easy for customers to use and businesses to adopt. The client swipes a credit or debit card through your small card-reading device, attached to your smartphone or tablet. (You may also have a standalone reader.) Accept payments in your office, the client’s location or wherever you’re doing business that day. Hardware setup costs and ongoing fees vary among vendors, with some deals including low- and no-cost hardware
- Digital wallet payments, such as those originating from Apple Pay®, Google PayTM and Samsung Pay apps, replace physical credit cards. To pay, the customer positions their phone in front of your scanning device
Apple and Google use near-field communication (NFC) for these transactions, while Samsung also adds magnetic secure transmission (MST). MST mimics a credit card’s magnetic stripe, making the phone compatible with most conventional credit-card terminals—a plus for customers and businesses alike.
Give your clients what they want.
Superior transaction security is the hallmark of mobile wallet payments. Unlike a traditional credit card data transmission, this technology creates a one-time encryption key that replaces your credit card number and other sensitive information.
Consumers take security seriously, too. In fact 66% of those polled in How We Will Pay, a 2017 Visa/PYMNTS.com survey, say that improved security is a key benefit of new payment technologies.2
As you consider which systems to use, think about your time and resources, and your customer preferences. Is your client base more likely open to a card-swipe system or a digital wallet setup? (Hint: Age matters.) Who will back your transactions? How We Will Pay also reveals that a “bank and bankcard network” is the top choice among consumers, with 77% demanding it. (The lowest choice: Facebook, at 8%.)2
Get back to the passion part of business.
Incorporating mobile payments technology into your accounts receivables makes great sense. You’ll create a positive, progressive image for your business and enable continued, reliable cash flow, so you have more time to be passionate about what you do best. Mission accomplished.
To get started with a mobile payments solution, contact an M&T Business Banking relationship manager at 1-800-724-6070 or visit a branch.
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This article is for informational purposes only. It is not designed or intended to provide financial, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice since such advice always requires consideration of individual circumstances. Please consult with the professionals of your choice to discuss your situation.