Mobile POS systems have taken off with small business owners in North America for a little while now. Their coverage may not exactly be widespread in comparison to POS devices, but the various brands associated with accepting cards for small to medium businesses is healthy.
Many brands are now expanding out into new regions with PayPal taking their Here device to Japan and then Square following a couple of months after. Many MPOS devices are spreading out across parts of Asia as Singapore seems to be adopting the technology.
Other nations are embracing mobile payments instead, or NFC terminals, but those aren't necessarily ideal for smaller businesses.
In the UK the adoption of NFC has been high and generally welcome – even if Marks & Spencer customers have had their confidence shaken – but the prevalence of MPOS devices for small businesses still seems thin on the ground.
One example can be found just outside our London offices.
An entire street full of wonderful food stalls that sell a whole manner of amazing delicacies from around the world. Some of them have made so much money from their stalls they've managed to purchase property down the road to transfer their business into.
However, many of these stalls still don't accept card, even some of the bricks and mortar sellers cannot take card payments.
Clearly this is an opportune time for MPOS devices to be rolled out for use, after all most workers and stall owners have smartphones on them, they would be perfect ways for people to pay.
So, what's the problem, why aren't people adopting the technology and instead favouring cash over card?
Well, despite the reasonably low fees on each card payment, many of these stalls would feel that the cost doesn't outweigh the benefits. They've got a raft of loyal customers who come to their stall for their excellent food. These people know that they don't take card payments and so will come prepared with cash.
There's also a free cashpoint not too far from the street – with a paid cashpoint being on the same street. Most people who have decided what they want won't be deterred by the effort to withdraw cash to get their food.
While it would certainly be handier for their customers if they took card, and quite possibly boost their sales as more customers may come and pay on card, it's unlikely that they feel such a need to invest in the technology – especially as card payments take time to verify and thus would slow down the rate of queues they have to deal with.
It also brings to question just how well informed merchants are with this new payments technology and how effective payment providers have been in conveying the benefits of the service.
While I'm sure it's rolled out in many places across the UK, I have never come into contact with such a device for payment – especially when they're rather recognisable.
What do you think about the adoption rates of mobile payment systems in the UK?
Do you believe that more small business owners should be adopting them to make life easier for the customer?
At this year's Europe's Customer Festival, Total Payments Europe will be taking place for you to discover new payment alternatives and learn from experts in payments about the industry's future and innovations.