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M-Commerce: Square Proves That it is Not as Easy as Many First Thought!

Sophie Hardbattle By Sophie Hardbattle

A lot of developments are being made in the world of commerce recently, more specifically in m-commerce, this is the term for 'commercial transactions conducted electronically by mobile'. Many digital giants are investing time and money into mobile phone payments, whether that be for traders or buyers. The most recent bit of progress comes from Apple, with their Apple Pay scheme. However this isn't necessarily a new phenomenon; there is a 'veteran' in the field; US mobile payment app, Square.

The difference between Square and Apple Pay is that it is a function for businesses to take payments from a mobile phone, using the customers debit or credit card. Apple Pay has the customer using the mobile for payment and the vendor using a scanner.

Square App

Square app

Apple Pay

Apple Pay

The Square app launched back in 2009 and is available in the US, Canada and Japan. To use the payment app, the retailer must have an iPhone, iPad or an Android device, accompanied by the free payment card reader from Square.

In The Verge's article 'Square's massive new funding isn't necessarily good news for the company' they detail how the company's growth is slowing, profits are lacking and investors are increasingly reluctant to bet on its future. The company reportedly closed a new $150 million round of funding earlier in the week, but all isn't as sunny as it seems. After the last round in January, the value of the company compared to the revenue has been on a steady decline.

They're not the only company failing to delve into the world of commerce; Facebook didn't do so well either, with their 'Buy a Gift' function. They started their venture by offering the platform-users a chance to buy virtual presents for their friends... Which never really took off. They then set up a physical gift shop after the acquisition of gift-giving app Karma... That didn't take off either... Tough luck Facebook. Personally, I could have seen this coming a mile off. People are growing more and more concerned about the amount of data and personal information Facebook are trying to gain from us. So when they wanted our banking information too, is it really that much of surprise that people weren't too keen? I think not.

And what can other companies learn from this? Consumers don't appear to be ready to trust new ways of commerce. As far as the majority are concerned, it is far too risky to entrust our most precious and personal information to big bad corporations. We've gone through an era of people telling us to be careful about giving our banking details out, online or over the phone, no wonder we're cautious! The big players in m-commerce at the moment are PayPal Here and (obviously) Apple Pay. To succeed where others have failed, they are going to have to find ways to make the customers feel that their data is secure and protected. This might be hard for Apple, seeing as the iCloud hacking scandal wasn't that long ago. However, I'm sure they will have something up their sleeve...

What do you think about the future of commerce? Would you trust the use of mobile payments?

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