Mobile Commerce Insider Featured Article

March 31, 2015

Apple Pay & iPhone Bringing New Options to Small Business

The numbers tell an interesting story: there are over 28 million small business owners in the United States, and 80 percent of these don't have one single employee involved. But these small business owners, who are generally the only employee the business has, may be about to discover that there's one employee that might be particularly worthwhile to bring in: the combined force of iPhone and Apple Pay.

A new report from Packaged Facts, titled Financial Services for Small Businesses in the U.S., 3rd Edition, helps to illustrate the concept nicely. Essentially, many small business owners already have the necessary tools on hand to put such tools to work—commonly a smartphone—and both make payments and accept payments from others from that device. While there was a certain amount of this going on already, thanks to things like the Square dongle that allowed for easy credit and debit card swiping and processing, it's Apple Pay that may well push the hesitant over the line.

In particular, the report notes that the numbers of small business owners that already have the tools to put Apple Pay to work are fairly substantial. While 24 percent of all adults in the United States own an iPhone of some variety, the number is quite a bit higher for small business managers at 36 percent. It gets more interesting from here; the managers that have iPhones are twice as likely to have an American Express business card.

So what does this all mean? It represents a clear opportunity for Apple Pay to jump to the head of the pack as a small business payment option quite unlike any other. The big advantage that Apple Pay has in the United States in particular is that there is a substantial user base already on hand. If the customers have Apple Pay, this in turn behooves the businesses to offer Apple Pay access, lest said businesses lose those customers to those who do, a point that likely wasn't lost on every Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) store out there. If small businesses start offering Apple Pay, that's one more reason to shop with small businesses.

It only gets more noteworthy from there. Consider how many small businesses routinely operate outdoors, like farmer's markets, produce stands, or even garage sales. Businesses like these usually don't have ready access to the Internet or even sometimes to power, so making a payment option that works on a mobile network and on the battery life of a smartphone can be all the more welcome. Even Etsy saw this back last October, adding a credit card reader for in-person purchases.

There are a lot of use cases out there for mobile payments, particularly for the small business. Apple Pay likely can't fail to note the sheer size of its install base and the likelihood of its use among small business users, and so will probably work to court these users a bit more aggressively. Only time will tell how Apple responds to Packaged Facts' report, but it could be a good day to come for highly mobile small businesses.

 



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