Keeping up with ways to pay

Albuquerque Journal — The evolution of money looks something like this: barter, coins, paper, plastic and now, phones. Ask local business owners what their payment preferences are these days, and you’re likely to hear a range of responses. While most customers are using multiple systems, such as paying electronically and using debit and credit cards and mobile apps, there still are consumers who prefer paying in cash or who can be persuaded by a business owner to write a check.

We’ve all encountered them: The home remodeler, the landscaper, the tailor at the dry cleaner, restaurateurs and food truck operators who are happy to accept payments other than plastic to avoid merchant fees on Visa and Mastercard transactions, the companies that handle about 70 percent of all credit card activity in the U.S.

The way consumers interact with money clearly is changing, and most small businesses are able to handle many payment methods. In the past 20 years, banks have pushed credit and debit cards at consumers, and shoppers have embraced the convenience and perks that come with plastic, such as receiving reward points and cash back and building a credit history

To get a glimpse of one aspect of commerce in America, look no further than your neighborhood Starbucks. The average Joe lining up for his morning cup of joe increasingly is paying with a mobile phone app heavily promoted by the coffee retailer. With more than 7 million active customers using the mobile payment system, Starbucks, based in tech-savvy Seattle, is looking to transform the way on-the-go coffee is selling today.

There are a multitude of mobile wallets and payment apps on the market today, Apple Pay has the largest percentage of supporting U.S. merchants, with 36 percent accepting the mobile payment service today, up from 16 percent last year, research released by Boston Retail Partners reveals.

PayPal falls in second place, with a 34 percent acceptance rate, followed by Mastercard PayPass (25 percent), Android Pay (24 percent), Visa Checkout (20 percent), Samsung Pay (18 percent), Chase Pay (11 percent) and private label mobile wallets with 4 percent, the 18th annual edition of the POS/Customer Engagement Survey shows.

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