Recently, retailers and credit card companies in the United States have been forced to upgrade their payment systems in order to use cards with the little chip in them. The transition to this “smart chip” technology has been frustrating for small businesses and consumers alike. Stores that take credit cards have had to pay money and upgrade their POS (Point of Sale) systems. Consumers have gotten stuck waiting around while their so-called “smart” chips verify transactions with the bank.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely a need to upgrade the security of the way we process credit card transactions. The magnetic stripe on the back of credit and debit cards is essentially the same material used in an audio cassette tape – and about as easy to copy, too.
But the frustration with smart chips is warranted as well. The thing to understand is this: smart chips are not new technology. In fact, they are quite old technology. The method of using a smart chip to process a card transaction was invented in the 1970s. It has been in widespread use across Europe since the early 1990s. The fact that America somehow got around using smart chips for so long is kind of crazy.
Fortunately, we won’t be stuck using smart chips for very long. Both chips and magnetic stripes are, in fact, already obsolete thanks to a relatively new technology called NFC or Near Field Communication. NFC uses a small transmission from your smartphone or smart-wearable device to create a very short-ranged network connection between the device and a modernized POS system. Using this connection, your phone or other device can verify your purchase information much more quickly – and much more securely – then either a smart chip or a magnetic stripe.
The most popular form of NFC payment so far comes bundled with iPhones, Apple Watches, and soon, Mac computers. It’s called Apple Pay. Almost every major bank and financial institution accepts Apple Pay, and pretty soon it will be one of the preferred methods of payment for both security and convenience.
Apple Pay is also changing the way we make purchases online. Rather than having to enter in a credit card number manually, digit by digit (which is also a security problem since anybody could obtain that number off your card and there is no good way to verify your identity), Apple Pay uses your fingerprint to verify your identity, then moves right ahead with the purchase.
Apple Pay is already accepted at tons of shopping and dining locations from Trader Joe’s to Macy’s to McDonald’s, and with loads of apps and services like Uber, Groupon and AirBNB. And now, your business can easily accept Apple Pay, too. As of this writing, Apple Pay has been integrated into Squarespace.
Any Squarespace Online Store can accept payments through Apple Pay on the iPhone, allowing their customers to pay quickly and securely with the press of a button and the scan of a fingerprint on an iPhone. And with the upcoming release of the Mac operating system Sierra, Apple Pay will be accepted on desktop computers as well.
One of the many things we love about Squarespace is how they keep up with and proliferate new and cutting edge technology. This move by Squarespace allows even the smallest ecommerce business to accept the latest and greatest in payment technology. So, you can stop lamenting the smart chip, and start embracing the future of online payments, thanks to Squarespace.
Seriously, when your customers see that your small online business accepts Apple Pay, they are going to be blown away.