Too many small merchants still seem clueless about mobile payments. They operate websites difficult to navigate on mobile devices and haven’t upgraded point-of-sale terminals to accept mobile payments.

Those merchants generally say they have “no compelling reason” to make those adjustments for mobile payments, according to research sponsored by data security provider ControlScan and acquirer TransFirst.

It’s up to ISOs and agents to convince small merchants to accept mobile payments, the report concludes. It’s the second study produced by Atlanta, Ga.-based ControlScan and Hauppauge, N.Y.-based TransFirst.

The companies surveyed more than 1,650 small merchants in March and April. The researchers asked merchants whether their websites are designed for mobile acceptance; whether they use a mobile card reader with a smartphone or tablet; and whether their point-of-sale terminal is prepared to accept mobile wallet payments.

“Of those three, the most important one today is, if they sell on the web, is their site conducive for the mobile shopper,” says Craig Tieken, TransFirst director of product.

As many as two-thirds of small merchants’ websites are not optimized for mobile acceptance, the report says, as 49% indicated their sites were not upgraded and 17% said they didn’t know or weren’t sure of their site’s status.

In addition, 82% of e-commerce merchants don’t know whether a purchase on their website comes from a mobile device or a PC, yet data from those who do know indicate that mobile site visitors represent an increasing portion of online sales.

If consumers have a hard time shopping on their mobile phone, they likely would not return to that site, Tieken says.

“The merchants who take a wait-and-see attitude when it comes to their website run a significant risk of losing customer base,” Tieken says.

Ninety-three percent of merchants say they are not accepting consumer mobile wallets at the point of sale — but in this case, a wait-and-see approach is more appropriate, says David Abouchar, ControlScan’s senior director of product management.

Of those respondents, 47% say they have no plans to accept mobile wallet payments “in the foreseeable future.” The future isn’t too clear about mobile wallet technology, Abouchar says.

“Consumers don’t see a problem with pulling out a mag-stripe card and swiping it because there is no perceived friction there,” Abouchar says.

The number of small merchants saying they use mobile card readers rose to 17% from last year’s 10%, the report says.

A majority of those merchants say they have not given up or replaced their traditional POS system because of the smartphone or tablet options, the report says.

Nearly half of merchants saying they use only mobile card readers are considered micromerchants because they have fewer than 10 employees and annual sales of less than $50,000.

Subscribe Now

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the payments industry

14-Day Free Trial

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the industry