By Norm Merritt, President and CEO of ShopKeep

Catching a wave — for anyone who has ever tried it — can be tricky, but it is definitely worth it. There is a great wave coming for independent businesses to catch — one that will help you grow your business and meet your customers’ expectations. Apple Pay is that wave! Some business owners are wondering if it’s a wave worth catching. I believe strongly that it is, and here is my rationale.

The EMV/Chip Card Transition is Coming, Upgrade Efficiently

Banks, which have always covered the cost of fraudulently presented credit cards, are transitioning to chip enabled credit cards making them virtually impossible to counterfeit. Those merchants who do not adopt chip enabled readers will be charged 100% of any fraudulent card purchase. So merchants should upgrade not only to avoid the charge from the banks but also to ensure their customers feel comfortable with the merchant having the latest, most secure technology. While costs vary and there are deals out there, this is a wise investment.

And this is where Apple Pay comes in. If you are upgrading your reader to be EMV compliant (which everybody should be doing), for very little more ($0 to $40), you can get a reader with Near Field Communication (NFC) capability. That is all you will need to be able to accept Apple Pay, and it will make your systems secure and cutting edge — now is the time!

Getting Apple Pay up and running in your store is easy. Apple Pay has a number of resources available, including this Apple Pay Merchant FAQ, which lists a hotline you can call with questions. You can also order decals to put in your storefront window and at the point-of-sale letting your customers know you’re on top of the latest trends in convenience and security.

Safety First!

Speaking of security, with all the EMV hoopla, did you know that Apple Pay is even more secure than EMV? In spite of some of the start up issues with banks not verifying identities properly, Apple has created one of the most secure payment methods to date, so take advantage. Traditional PC-based point of sale systems leave credit card information vulnerable to hackers, but Apple Pay has three distinct levels of security that make it nearly impossible to retrieve payment information.

  • When you add a credit or debit card to Apple Pay, the actual card numbers are not stored on the device, nor on Apple servers. Instead, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored in the Secure Element on your device.
  • Each transaction is authorized with a one-time unique dynamic security code, instead of using the security code from the back of your card.
  • When paying, consumers just hold their smartphone near the payment terminal and with their finger on Touch ID, payment is quick, easy and more secure than plastic cards today.

What Apple Pay is Today Just Scratches the Surface of What It Will Be Tomorrow

Today, Apple Pay is a payments platform. However, the future of Apple Pay could be much, much more. Matched with a powerful cloud-based POS system with an open platform, leveraging the latest technology, Apple Pay could become a very important piece of a new ecosystem for small merchants to compete and win. You could turn your POS and payment terminal into a system for loyalty and rewards that seamlessly connects you with your customers. Through linking simple data — such as favorite places to shop or frequently-purchased items — with location services, these new systems could push coupons, deals and notifications from local businesses directly to shoppers’ phones. This technology is only going to open doors and transform the way in which your and other business owners interact with customers on a daily basis.

So, Catch the Wave!

My read is — the wave is coming and the wave is worth catching. Hopefully, you agree. Upgrade to EMV and get NFC along with it. Secure your customers data with the three levels of security. Take advantage of all the future developments by upgrading to an open platform that includes Apple Pay. Do this and you’ll be in for the thrill of a lifetime!

 Norm Merritt is the president and CEO of ShopKeep. Follow at @ShopKeep.

Photo Courtesy: Apple