2015 is going to be a big year for payments technology, with Apple Pay, EMV Chip Cards, and CurrentC competing for the attention of business owners and consumers alike.

Whenever new technologies like this hit the market, you’re faced with the decision to jump on board as an ‘early adopter’ or wait to see how it all plays out. There are many reasons why these technologies are coming to the forefront now, but perhaps the most compelling reason for business owners to move quickly is the increased security they offer.

Given the increasing number of well publicized point of sale breaches that have exposed millions of consumers’ credit card information, this is a topic that should be top of mind for all business owners. Apple Pay and EMV promise much greater levels of security. Here are a few other reasons to consider moving quickly on Apple Pay.

The Apple Effect

The first and most clear reason that Apple Pay is even a hot topic of conversation currently is that it is a major – potentially industry-changing – release by one of the more influential companies out there today. The ‘Apple Effect’ refers to Apple’s continued success at creating consumer excitement and adoption. Just like many of Apple’s revolutionary products that preceded it such as the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, Apple Pay is expected to draw an influx of customers around something – mobile payments – that other large competitors have already failed at. However, that still doesn’t answer the question of whether small business owners should accept it now or wait. The answer lies in the fact that though still in its early stage, Apple Pay has seen substantial use already. American Express estimates that more than 20 percent of all US consumers will have access to Apple Pay by early 2015. You read that correctly – that’s 1 in 5 customers. According to veteran analyst, Tim Bajarin, about 30 million Americans will own an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus by early next year. Not to mention, Apple is slated to release the Apple Watch, another Apple Pay-enabled device, in early 2015.

Cost

Unfortunately, small business owners do not have the same luxury of adopting technology as easily as big-box retailers do. Many are deciding to hold off, at least initially, because of the upfront cost of upgrading to the equipment required to accept Apple Pay. The truth is however, with the introduction of NFC payments and EMV which is soon to follow, updating your point of sale or processing equipment will become imperative. The best way to solve both problems and save money is to purchase equipment that is compatible with both NFC and EMV. The good news for small business owners is that there are several systems on the market that already offer this at a marginal cost to small businesses. In fact, we at ShopKeep are even offering our Apple Pay and EMV enabled reader for free to new customers to help ease the transition!

Protecting Your Customers’ Data

Despite hearing about all of the recent point of sale attacks to major retailers such as The Home Depot and Target, many small business owners simply do not feel that these threats affect them directly yet. The truth is however, anytime you accept a credit card transaction, you are in fact susceptible to a breach – even if it’s of a much smaller scale. With Apple Pay, you no longer collect the customer’s card information because of the process of tokenization, essentially removing any chance of compromising that information. No matter how small the breach, your customers are going to be less likely to continue shopping at your store if they discover that there was a chance of their payment information being compromised.

Speed

]For any business operating in a high volume environment, Apple Pay offers an incredible opportunity to blow through transactions much more quickly. At this early stage, while customers are still getting used to things, this speed may not be immediately evident but our tests here at Counter Culture definitely show a marked step up in average transaction speed. The key here may be to invest in educating your regular customers about Apple Pay and walking them through their first Apple Pay transaction.

About the Author

Paul Nugent is a small business advocate, and Head of Marketing at ShopKeep point of sale’s UK headquarters. Paul uses his background in the startup space, along with his POS system expertise, to allow small business owners to make informed decisions within their specific budgets.