The technology that helps businesses and consumers complete transactions more quickly and securely has reached an all-time high in terms of efficiency. Now, businesses can provide equipment at the point of sale that helps customers complete a transaction in a matter of seconds, thanks to innovations like Near Field Communication (NFC) and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Beacons. These technologies have become the leaders in terms of enabling POS purchases to be completed using smartphones, but each is designed with a different user experience in mind. Considering these differences will help you determine whether NFC or BLE Beacons are the right choices going forward for your business.
What are NFC and BLE Beacons?
NFC and BLE Beacon technology are two different tools that can be used by a merchant to streamline the shopping experience of customers who have certain applications installed on their smartphones. Although these technologies accomplish different goals when it comes to merchants reaching consumers, they are both able to work thanks to Bluetooth technology. The same technology that allows you to pair your smartphone with wireless headphones or your car stereo is also helping to revolutionize the way people shop.
When a smartphone owner turns on their Bluetooth feature, they will be able to receive information via low energy Bluetooth signals that emanate from any beacon located up to and within approximately 50 meters. For store owners, this means that a customer using a smartphone with technology that is compatible with the Bluetooth beacon technology at the point of sale can choose to complete a payment in store, or at a later time via their mobile payment account. The sale information is automatically sent to both the store and the customer’s account verifying online payment and the completion of a transaction without the customer ever having to pull their payment card, or their smartphone out of their pocket. Some merchant account providers don’t insure these types of payments so be sure to ask your provider if this is the right merchant account for you.
Near Field Communication technology has come a long way in recent years. Like the beacons previously described, NFC requires a customer to enable the Bluetooth feature on their phone. Then, using an application that securely holds and communicates the customer’s payment info, a customer can simply tap their phone on the corresponding NFC payment terminal in order to complete a transaction in seconds, without ever having to reach for their wallet or remember a PIN.
Now that we know the main differences between these Bluetooth based technologies, it is time to assess whether your business could benefit from using BLE Beacons or NFC payments. Each of these technologies offers quick and convenient ways for your customers to complete secure electronic payments in-store, but the nature of the convenience of each payment method differs. When it comes to each method, the merchant will need to invest in the proper equipment. This is likely going to be more expensive for BLE Beacons, due to the number of beacons that you will likely require, but this initial cost will eventually become worth it, as more new smartphones offer users easier access to BLE technology every day.
NFC payments are the more secure method of payment, and the initial cost of setting up the correct equipment, as well as the interchange fee associated with this technology is less than its BLE counterpart. This lower cost is mainly to do with the more basic function of NFC technology, so if you are looking for a more immersive and streamlined payment method that also integrates your store’s online applications with your customer’s wallet applications, NFC has far less to offer compared to BLE Beacon technologies.
If you would like to learn more about these and many other great new technologies available to merchants that improve payment methods and customer satisfaction, be sure to contact a representative at Millenium Bankcard today!