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How Digital Payments Can Help Your Field Service Business Grow

May 29, 2018 - Finances - 5 minutes

Small and medium-sized businesses represent the biggest and most valuable part of a nation’s economy and digital payments are playing an increasingly important role in their success…

Note: This is a guest post by Jullian-Luc Barber, Coordinator of Business Development at SumUp.

However, it’s also true that accepting digital payments has historically been a challenge for them, which is why you’ll still see “Cash only” signs on many businesses’ storefronts.

Why has accepting mobile payments been such a challenge?

It’s because small businesses, with their small revenues and ticket sizes, haven’t been an attractive target market for the traditional card acceptance companies.

These companies’ offerings are tailored towards the needs of bigger businesses.

The good news for SMEs is that mobile payment providers have democratised access to card payment technology significantly in recent years. That means even tiny businesses can now take advantage of digital payments to grow and thrive.

  1. The old way: Cumbersome hardware and non-transparent pricing.
  2. The new way: Digital payments mean get paid anytime and anywhere.
  3. Functionalities beyond payments.
  4. Show your customers the new way.

1. The old way: Cumbersome hardware and non-transparent pricing.

Old-style PDQ machines (also known as point of sale terminals or credit card terminals) are still around in many businesses, but they have many disadvantages: They require a dedicated phone line, they can take payments only in one physical location, and PDQ companies often hit businesses with non-transparent fees.

These solutions don’t match the needs of today’s small businesses—and certainly not field service businesses, where customers aren’t coming into your business office to pay.

Luckily, SMEs can now accept card payments anywhere they like, thanks to the development of mobile payment providers.

2. The new way: Digital payments mean get paid anytime and anywhere.

Instead of using a traditional fixed-line traditional terminal, this technology works using your smartphone as the base. All your engineers or office staff need to do is to enter the cardholder’s details into the app and the debit or credit card payment is processed.

payment via tablet

As long as the cardholder has sufficient funds their card issuer will release the money, just like a conventional payment terminal.

Using a mobile card payment system means upgrading to twenty-first-century technology.

Today’s consumers are accustomed to being able to order anything they want online at any time that suits them. They’re also used to being able to pay from anywhere they happen to be.

Given that consumers now expect this level of flexibility with payments, offering a mobile card transaction service makes sense for any business that doesn’t use a conventional cash register system.

Anyone who offers mobile services, like electricians, plumbers, HVAC companies, and window cleaners, can obtain payment from their customers in their own homes without having to rely on cheques or cash.

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3. Functionalities beyond payments.

For business owners who want fast and secure transactions, a full overview of their sales, and transparent pay-as-you-go pricing, card acceptance solutions like the one from SumUp are an ideal service.

The SumUp card reader connects via Bluetooth to the field service engineer’s smartphone or tablet. Using a mobile internet or Wifi connection, SumUp’s card terminal lets your engineer accept card payments anytime and anywhere—even contactless with the integrated NFC chip. SumUp even integrates with Commusoft, making it easy to sync payment with your invoices in the Commusoft system.

Today’s mobile payments systems even go beyond pure payment functionality: Businesses can also keep track of their sales via an online dashboard, organise refunds, manage their product inventory, and organise staff accounts.

When you consider the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the already existing trend—of a shift toward cashless payments—increased significantly. For instance, “The volume of cash being used dropped by as much as 60%” and similar, impactful trends have continued for a variety of reasons.

As Upgraded Points state in their report:

“Up to 58% of people globally haven’t entered a physical store in the last 12 months”

“41% of Americans were going cashless for in-person purchases in 2020”

It’s clear the way that customers buy, sell, and even save their money has changed. While societies are opening up again, the shift toward “a cashless reality” and payments that need a simple, secure, & contactless solution to enable them, will continue to stick with us.

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4. Show your customers the new way.

While digital payments are a standard in large businesses, some people are positively surprised when a small business uses one. This is a great opportunity for marketing: Make customers aware of your new functionality by promoting it on your website and social media.

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Today’s mobile payment systems come with a modern design, in stark contrast to traditional devices. Since these mobile terminals are relatively new, it’s important to ensure customers that the devices are EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) and PCI-DSS certified, and as secure as any other device.

With a mobile payment solution to accept digital payments, you can run your field service business without unnecessary limitations.

As the world heads into a cashless age, a contactless card reader allows you not only to accept payments anywhere, but also to securely accept credit, debit, or cash payments.

This flexibility is good for your business—and it makes your customers happier, too, leading to more jobs.

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I'm eager to share great stories, advice, and tips that can help inspire and motivate field service businesses to find success. It's that, or I'm hunting down the best bagel recipe I can get my hands on!

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