Many small merchants operate a website not conducive to accepting payments on mobile devices, and many have not upgraded point of sale terminals to accept mobile payments.
Those merchants generally say they have "no compelling reason" to make these adjustments for mobile payments, according to research sponsored by data security provider ControlScan and acquirer TransFirst.
It's up to acquirers and independent sales organizations to convince small merchants to accept mobile payments, the report concludes. The June 13 report is the second produced by Atlanta, Ga.-based ControlScan and Hauppauge, N.Y.-based TransFirst.
The companies surveyed more than 1,650 small merchants over a one-month period in portions of March and April. The survey 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, director of product at TransFirst.
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 through 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 micro merchants, or those with less than 10 employees and annual sales of less than $50,000.