Of the independent sales organizations and agents ready to commit to mobile payments, many are facing information overload and don’t know where to begin. The mobile market is still in its infancy, and everyone from technology companies to processors are flooding it with innovation and ideas that may or may not take hold.
Whatever their excuse, ISOs that stay away from mobile do so at their own peril, industry insiders say. If it’s a question of not knowing where to begin, ISOs and agents can still thrive by latching on to a progressive vendor, reading industry reports, attending trade shows and surveying the products on the market, they say.
Go Mobile Commerce LLC regularly fields calls from frustrated agents in the field, says Heather Mickelson, founder and president of the Tacoma, Wash.-based mobile-technology company. That’s because ISOs have been slow to offer mobile to merchants, and agents are losing clients because of it. Many of the agents Mickelson encounters don’t even offer a smartphone card-swipe attachment.
In many cases, ISOs are holding up the works because they haven’t noticed the changes taking place in the mobile space. Meanwhile, agents are struggling to meet merchants’ demands and growing tired waiting for their ISO to catch up.
Not offering mobile, for whatever reason, is one of the biggest mistakes an ISO can make, Mickelson says.
“The agent is the eyes and ears of the ISO. And it’s unfortunate because if the ISO doesn’t see it soon, they’ll see significant changes in their operation and lose clients,” she says.
The demand for mobile-payment acceptance and tablet point-of-sale systems has shot up seemingly overnight. Mickelson points to her website’s hits as evidence. Four years ago, 80% of the site’s hits came from the search term “wireless credit card machine.” Today, 80% of hits come from the term “iPad credit card reader.”
It’s further evidence that ISOs need to change to serve the new market, Mickelson says.
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