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Your Take: Would You Accept Cellphone Payments?

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Cell Phone DialpadThere was an article in the New York Times yesterday about a bunch of new startups offering cell phone payment systems. They talked about PayPal, Intuit, VeriFone, and Square and how each of their systems let you collect payments, whether from friends or customers, through systems integrated with your cell phone.

For businesses, this is great. I love the case of Joe Mangrum, a fantastic artist, accepting payments with his cell phone. It’d be impossible for him to accept credit card payments without a huge financial overhead. Cell phone payments are a boon for folks like him.

But what about the rest of us? The article talks about how these services would be great to collect money from your deadbeat friends. How many times have you been in those situations? Do you really want to pay $13 a month and a transaction fee usually around 3%?

I wouldn’t. Would you? What do you think about these payment systems?

(Photo: scelera)

{ 19 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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19 Responses to “Your Take: Would You Accept Cellphone Payments?”

  1. DIY Investor says:

    Interesting. I’ll bring it up with my students on Monday night as our discussion topic – we are studying the role of money in the economy and the Federal Reserve.
    Two thoughts: It obviously is convenient and for business probably will be essential. On the other hand the spreading use of credit I think is not good because people obviously can’t handle credit as it is. Economists have shown that people who used credit cards in stores can’t recall what they paid for items as well as people who paid cash. The guy in the article who sold more books is happy but will it drive more people to take on too much debt?

  2. billsnider says:

    It would be a boom for any business that accepts checks. On average 55 bounce, either through error or outright writing a check for money they did not have. You can go after them and have a method to collect. The business can also check the cell phone number before accepting the check to make sure the number is not a scam.

    Bill Snider

  3. cubiclegeoff says:

    I don’t know about paying between friends, I think this could lead to awkward situations.

    However, I think this is a great idea for small businesses, especially vendors on streets or at flea markets, or other places where people sell things but getting a credit card system up would be a hassle or not possible. People just don’t have as much cash as before, and if someone wants to buy something but is short on cash, you lose a sale.

  4. zapeta says:

    As a business it would be useful. As a customer I’d be willing to make a cell phone payment as long as there weren’t any fees or surcharges to do so. Personally, I wouldn’t have a need to be able to receive cell phone payments from anyone.

  5. mikestreb says:

    I did for a while with my business, but it got too costly.

  6. CK says:

    at $13 a month and 3% no, but if costs fall sure sign me up.

  7. ziglet19 says:

    I don’t know that I would use it. Maybe it’s a little too “technologically advanced” for me – something about it just rubs me the wrong way for my own personal use.

  8. javi says:

    I wouldn’t use it. The fees are too high right now.

  9. echidnina says:

    I run an Etsy shop, and think this is a great service for the crafting community. I’ve always considered selling at craft fairs, but have never actually done one because I didn’t want to only accept cash. Credit card systems for small businesses are either expensive, labor-intensive, or both. I could absolutely see it being useful for crafters and other small businesses.

    For individuals? Probably not…

  10. eric says:

    Many Asian countries have set up cell phone bill pay and people2people payment systems a long time ago. I was so surprised the first time I found out about it and I thought it was ingenious and so convenient.

    The US is always late to the game when it comes to these things but I hope we have the option soon in the future. I think it’s pretty cool.

  11. Safeway_Sage says:

    I used to own a business about 10 years ago and I was able to process credit card payments through my cell phone. It barely cost anything to set up. The only catch was the fee paid per transaction, it was 1 percent higher. Not a problem there, just pass that cost on to the customer.

    Just seems like the masses have finally caught up.


  12. sdziekan says:

    I would have some concerns about the risk of fraud or scams and the costs are too high right now, but in the future I definitely see myself using one of these services.

  13. Martha says:

    I definitely would not, but I’d love for parking to be pay by phone. Its common in London – not sure about other European cities but it would be much easier than fishing around for quarters in my purse!

  14. WR says:

    $13.00 per month and 3% transaction charge seems extremely reasonable if the number of transactions and the price of the product or service reflects a reasonable profit.

    Other factors that come to mind to me are the demographic. The target customer should be likely to consider paying with this method. I would assume this would be younger adults, perhaps the 18-25 demo.

    some brainstorming…
    Would it not be cool to sell sports drinks to people on the beach or trail that rarely carry cash but *always* have their cell phone with them.

    What about a mobile oil-change business. “We’ll change your oil while you are at work”

    In whatever business you run, once you pass the 13.00 barrier, any profit is good profit.

    If it were a very large ticket item, I would consider the publics appetite for a convenience fee of 1-3% to take the edge off of the transaction cost.

    I would gladly accept the rent, on time, from one of my tenants using this method of payment and would simply pass on the transaction cost to them.

    pay by check before 5th of the month:$1100.00
    pay by cell: $1133.00 (rent plus 3%)
    pay after the 5th:$1155.00 (rent plus late fee of 5%)

    believe it or not, most landlords, including myself, don’t like to get late fees, we would rather have the money on the 1st and be done with it.


  15. Yes, I’d accept it. The rest of the world does wireless banking via cell phones. If you’re a vendor at a flea market or street fair you can get customers that you might otherwise miss.

  16. cdiver says:

    Take whatever payment you can get.

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