A new report from Newtek, a payroll products firm, found 82 percent of small businesses do not currently have a point-of-sale terminal (POS) that is able to accept near-field-communication (NFC) contactless payments like Google Wallet or Apple Pay. What’s more, 93 percent of small-business owners told Newtek they aren’t planning to upgrade their terminals to make those payment types available to their customers.
Newtek’s products support Apple Pay and the NFC technology it’s based on.
NFC technology allows for the transfer of small amounts of data between two devices held closely to one another. If you tap your smartphone on a payment terminal in a retail store, it will be able to identify your account and allow quick and easy payment.
Newtek surveyed more than 1,000 small businesses for its report.
Barry Sloane, Newtek president, chairman and CEO, said small companies aren’t eager to upend their current way of operating.
“Their livelihood depends on their ability to take payments and sell something,” Sloane said. “So if all of a sudden they are told to do something differently, and get rid of their current POS system, they’re going, ‘I don’t think so.’ Because taking the payment and it not working is traumatic.”
Not all small businesses are shunning the mobile wallet trend, of course. In fact, Square, the mobile payment system created by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey had its one-billionth swipe.
Wednesday at a merchant in Sacramento, California.
Square told CNBC that while it doesn’t collect small-business specific data, “millions of retailers” of all sizes use its products.
But the fact of the matter is, small businesses will have to upgrade their terminals in 2015 to comply with new credit card company rules, Sloane said. The burden of responsibility will shift next year from card companies to retailers for fraudulent charges.
Avin Arumugam, executive director of Chase Digital, said it’s not too surprising that small companies are shying away from new technology, but upgrading to new compliant terminals means they will likely also be able to accept NFC payments. They are small and more nimble than larger brands, he said, so they can and should consider trying out new technology.
“Small companies, if you really think about it, can often be early adopters of new technology because they aren’t as robust as big companies. They can try things out and get them going,” he said.