5 new payment methods every firm needs to know

So, what new payment methods should you be getting familiar with?

Here are the five new payment types every business ought to be considering.

1. Znap

Based on QR-codes, Znap is designed to make it easy for customers to pay for goods both online and offline using their mobile phone. The vendor generates a Znap QR code on a screen. The buyer then captures the QR code using their mobile, and the Znap mobile app converts this into a payment.

Why is Znap so useful? Online, it automates much of the basket filling activities. When the customer snaps, or “Znaps” the QR-code displayed on their computer screen, all the delivery information, billing information and other relevant customer information is automatically relayed to the vendor. No need to fill out all those pesky forms! So, fewer abandoned shopping carts.

Offline, Znap can be used in creative ways. For example, a Council Tax bill could display a Znap QR code, which the tenant simply captures with their mobile to pay. No need to log onto an online banking system. Znap QR codes can even be displayed on print adverts or billboards, facilitating instant purchase via those mediums. It is still in its infancy, but Znap is a technology with great potential.

2. Bitcoin

No doubt you’ve heard of Bitcoin. But one key aspect might have passed you by. Bitcoin allows businesses to take payments without incurring punitive transaction fees. Customers buy Bitcoins on an online exchange, such as LocalBitcoins.com or MtGox.com, and then send it to the vendor’s Bitcoin address. The Bitcoins are then instantly converted back into Pounds Sterling.

Bleddyn Williams, founder of the Rentadesk office-sharing chain, allows his customers to pay using Bitcoin. He says: “The transaction fees with Bitcoin are almost nothing, tiny, compared to PayPal or traditional bank charges. Bitcoin will be really disruptive for international payment rates, where transaction costs are painfully high.”

The currency volatility of Bitcoins is irrelevant as the transaction time period is so brief. For international sellers, Bitcoin payments are rapidly becoming a must.

3. PayPal Instore

Intriguing one, this. PayPal Instore is the new way of paying in retail environments. Customers use the PayPal mobile app to create a barcode which can be scanned at the till. Payment is processed via the customer’s PayPal Account. The convenience rating is high. But PayPal’s transaction fees are high compared to alternative payment methods (including cash). And you’ll need to install PayPal’s Epos software on your system.

4. Dwolla

Talking of transaction fees…Dwolla is an American payment system created to slash the cost of paying online. There is a flat fee of 25 cents for transactions over $10, and free for transactions under $10. No percentage fees or hidden costs. Dwolla’s been around for a year or two now, proving to be both enterprise friendly, and secure. When it hits the UK, entrepreneurs should rejoice.

5. iZettle

Most retailers still rely on dedicated EPOS hardware to take payment. But what about using a mobile phone or iPad to take payments? iZettle’ s card reader slots into smartphones to enable payment via credit or debit cards. The technique means queues at the till can be tackled by roving sales staff, armed with nothing more than a phone and an iZettle card reader. Transaction costs range from 1.5 per cent to 2.75 per cent. Not cheap, but better than watching customers walk out of your store.

Charles Orton-Jones is a business journalist.

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