Survey finds that just 2 per cent of UK micro-businesses use mobile point-of-sale

A new piece of research into mobile point-of-sale (or mPOS) technology has found that adoption of the technology – which allows businesses such as market traders to accept a card payment via a smartphone rather than a fixed POS terminal – is currently very limited.

The survey into attitudes towards mPOS, which was commissioned by payment service provider Kalixa and carried out by MobileSquared, found that only 2 per cent of UK micro-businesses (those with one to nine employees) currently use mPOS solutions to accept payments.

Of the thousand micro-businesses questioned, 45 per cent said cash flow was the number one enemy in terms of stunting their growth, and 48 per cent said they had lost sales in the past, with one in ten admitting those sales had fallen through because they couldn't accept the payment method the customer required.

While adoption might be low, quite a few businesses are looking into mPOS to help overcome payment issues, with 17 per cent saying they expect it will remove any payment method problems, and 19 per cent believing that mPOS will help with cash flow and therefore growth.

38 per cent of respondents said that they are going to adopt mPOS in the "near future", providing their concerns about it are addressed. Those concerns are the sluggish payment speeds of existing mPOS solutions, with 7 to 10 days being the norm to settle payments – which hardly improves cash flow – and of course there are the usual security worries. 56 per cent were concerned about potential security issues, and 29 per cent were worried about connectivity dropping out.

Nick Lane, Chief Analyst at Mobilesquared, commented: "Our extensive research talking to micro-businesses revealed that investment in an mPOS device is a major consideration for the majority of these companies that can often take 12-18 months to make, even though there is a marked increase in sales once that decision has been made."

He continued: "It is clear from the research that education is key to addressing micro-business concerns around settlement speed, security and connectivity, but also to educate micro businesses and their customers that the 'calculator-like' device is as trustworthy and safe as every other POS device."

Naturally, Kalixa has its own just-launched service with an mPOS product, with Kalixa Pro being pay-as-you-go with no contract and an initial £72 fee for the device, and card fees set at 1.99 per cent per transaction.