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ACH is a Promising Option for Mobile Payments

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Technology

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/// Guest post by contributor Dan Hudson, First Data

With the increased use of tablets and smart phones, it is no surprise that mobile payments are expected to grow. Consumers are using mobile apps and web browsers to review, browse, compare and buy products, both at home and on the go. This creates both opportunities and challenges for retailers and those retailers that are able to tap into the mobile payment market will give themselves a competitive advantage, which means now is the time to formulate their strategic plans for accepting mobile payments.

While mobile payments are a relatively small part of the payment industry today, they are expected to reach $670 billion worldwide by 2015, up from $240 billion in 2011, Juniper Research reported.

There are several mobile payment options you can choose from. One you should consider is an ACH-based payment program—that is the processing of a non-check electronic payment through the Automated Clearinghouse Network. Because it takes advantage of existing infrastructure there is less risk, lower costs and higher customer appeal. It is also efficient and is already available.   

While ACH is often linked with processing paper checks, other payments can be processed through this network. Interestingly, even as the use of paper checks declines each year, ACH payments are on the rise. That shows that today’s consumers are already comfortable with using an e-check online, paying bills through their checking account or setting up payments for recurring services.

For retailers, the cost of accepting ACH payments is a plus. The transactional fee on ACH payments is typically equal to or less than face-to-face (card present) card rates, and significantly lower than non-face-to-face (card-not-present) rates. This is especially important for mobile payments because the card associations consider most mobile transactions to be card-not-present purchases, which means they have higher interchange fees, as well as increased fraud liability.

A merchant’s loyalty program can also be tied to ACH payments, which would make it easy to offer your shoppers rewards for spending their money with you. Customers could register their bank account with the merchant’s loyalty program and use the smart phone application to initiate an ACH payment transaction while also tracking loyalty benefits.

Retailers may also be able to help steer customer behavior. One national service station chain offers an ACH-based payment and loyalty program that provides a discount on fuel purchases. The company found that 48 percent of its customers reported increased purchases at these stations after registering their ACH account.

Mobile payment programs may also help retailers battle fraud. When a consumer registers with a mobile app and provides payment and demographic information, their identity can be more easily authenticated to reduce anonymity.

First Data has provided reader's with access to a whitepaper on ACH payments. Download Invigorate Your Mobile Commerce Strategy with Low-Cost Payment Steering.

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{Guest Post} Guest post provided by NATSO Chairman's Circle member First Data. In 2005 NATSO joined with First Data to develop a direct, cost effective and competitive solution for payment processing that is fast, convenient and secure. You may use First Data now but that doesn’t mean you are covered by the remarkable NATSO/First Data program! The NATSO/First Data program includes a “cost+” rate structure with numerous reduced fees that include a $0 chargeback fee. Utilizing the vast payment industry experience of First Data coupled with direct oversight of NATSO industry experts, our program supports practically all forms of electronic payments including fleet, credit and pin debit cards plus customized gift & e-loyalty programs. For more information and to get started, contact Dan Hudson at (703) 398-5831 or email Dan.Hudson@FirstData.com

The opinions and advice given by guest post contributors are not necessarily those of NATSO Inc. The posts should not be considered legal advice. Qualified professionals should be sought regarding advice and questions specific to your circumstances.

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About the Author

Dan Hudson

Dan Hudson

Dan Hudson is a seasoned payment industry specialist with over 15 years of service. 

After a U.S. Air Force enlistment as a fire fighter and studies @ George Washington University; in 1998 Dan Hudson joined Concord EFS, now First Data, as a payment services representative. 

He quickly began to specialize in the Truck Stop & Petroleum payments sector, which led to the NATSO/First Data Direct Program.