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If you work in a B2C company of any sort, you probably have already heard of mobile payments. There’s also another term that is emerging quite popularly in the B2C sector, and that is mobile POS systems. Most business people conflate these two terms because they sound similar. In fact, mobile payment and mobile POS are two very different concepts. Read below to fully understand what each of these terms means and whether your business can benefit from either.

Mobile Payments Explained

It’s relatively easy to understand mobile payment. It refers to customers using mobile platforms, such as smartphones and tablets, to make mobile payments. This is essentially the mobile version of paying online. But it’s important to keep in mind that mobile payments is a rather broad term. It includes things such as peer-to-peer payments, mobile money transfers, using a mobile wallet, among others.

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Mobile payments use no hardware and rely on software to facilitate customers to make a payment using their handheld gadget. This way of paying completely eliminates the need to carry physical cards or cash around. As customers are preferring more and more to shop online, particularly using handheld devices, mobile payments are becoming essential for businesses of all sorts.

Mobile POS Explained

Mobile Point of Sale (POS) systems is something the business operates, not the customer. These systems are sometimes also referred to as mPOS systems. Essentially, and mPOS system is a compact card reader that works as a POS system on the go. The mPOS hardware also includes software that acts as the digital payment system. When we talk about POS systems in general, it includes both the hardware and software. It’s no different with mPOS systems.

Regular POS systems are stationary. They are at the store and customers walk up to the cash registered manned by employees. With mPOS systems, this cash register travels to the customer, not the other way around. Think of it as a regular POS system, but one that is far more portable. These devices accept credit and debit cards, or even loyalty cars, as usual. The system is connected via Wi-Fi to the company’s digital accounting database.

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Mobile POS systems offer similar perks like in-store POS systems, such the ability to manage inventory, track products, speed up the transactions, and so on. Mobile POS systems are based on a handheld device, like a tablet or a smartphone. However, the EMV card reader has to be purchased from a specialty provider, like SumUp, currently the leading mPOS card reader in Europe.

Choosing Between the Two

Actually, small businesses should not choose between the two. If your business is entirely online, then the business can rely only on mobile payments. However, businesses like restaurants and clothing stores that make deliveries should definitely also invest in mPOS systems that accept credit cards. For example, if your business is a food delivery service, allowing customers to pay when the delivery is made increases convenience for both the customer and the business. Even businesses with stores can benefit more from including mobile POS hardware in addition to regular cash register systems. The main advantage is the ability to take the transaction to the customer, which eliminates a major pain point.

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Overall, mPOS systems make small businesses competitive when massive online retailers are stealing away customers. Therefore, all businesses should make mobile payments possible. If relevant, mPOS systems are also a crucial investment in remaining competitive as a small business.