Phone Replaces Wallet at Point of Sale
It is only a matter of time before smartphones render everything else in our handbags irrelevant. My little black book, gone; map of the city, gone; pen and paper, gone; camera, gone; and now the wallet is the next to go. The concept of mobile payment is gaining momentum as retailers strive to increase sales by integrating the point-of-sale into other aspects of the consumer’s everyday experience.
Dwolla, is on the forefront of this, brilliantly combining online, mobile and social mediums to exchange cash. Today, the company released a new app, Dwolla Spots, that allows users to complete a retail transaction with their smartphone via their physical location. Dwolla calls this, building on the social behaviors and day-to-day interactions of consumers. I call it, cool.
“Dwolla Spots represents the first real marriage between the mobile payments industry and location-based technologies, a marriage that leapfrogs NFC and one that we believe will bring the most immediate impact to retailers and consumers looking to take mobile payments,” said Ben Milne, CEO and co-founder of Dwolla. “Our flat 25 cent fee per transaction is extremely valuable to retailers that are used to eating 3% of a purchase, plus an additional 30 cents for transaction fees; however, we also wanted to make technologies that consumers would love, so we created an intuitive location-based platform that makes paying with your cell phone a secure and simple experience.”
The new application focuses on proximity-based interactions and feature an easy-to-scroll Spots map that allows users to choose a location, engage in a transaction, and complete a mobile payments purchase, all through their cell phones. Merchants can use a Dwolla compatible platform, such as iOS, Android, or Windows 7 device, to confirm a transaction. Integration within web-based applications and point-of-sale systems are also possible, with new upgrades to both platforms coming later this summer. Just like cash, businesses and vendors receive Dwolla funds in real-time.
“Cash, as we know it, is slowly becoming obsolete as credit card networks continue to digitize our money and our purchasing behaviors,” said Milne. “New technologies, like Spots, represent a thought shift that we hope will save cash from extinction; one where orange is the new green.”
Currently, Dwolla Spots is exclusive to the Apple iOS and is available now in the App Store free of charge. Updates to the currently existing Android and Windows 7 applications will be released later this spring.
Pulling in of social contacts
Unlike the previous version, the new iteration will provide users access to their linked social networks’ contacts, providing users an intuitive and easy way to send and receive money with anyone in their Facebook or Twitter communities.
Sharing mobile payments with your social communities
Users will now have the option of sharing their payment activity with businesses or friends on their linked Twitter or Facebook accounts.
Registered businesses will be able to select their Spot’s avatars to differentiate their location from others.
Dwolla Spots’ map is self-aware and will continue to update itself in real-time as new business locations opt-in for the mobile payments service.
Upon selecting an establishment, Spots will be able to recommend directions to the selected location.
Granted, there will always be consumers reluctant to change, and technology like this can be hard to assimilate for a certain segment of the population. However, there is a large segment of the population eager to adopt new, more convenient technologies like this one, and retailers are just as eager to adopt new point of sale methods that save them money on each transaction.