Enterprises need to prepare for m-payments

The launch of Orange and Barclaycard’s ‘Quick Tap’ m-payment service will enable subscribers to purchase items in 50,000 UK stores by simply tapping their handsets against dedicated point-of-sale registers.

With industry giants such as Apple and Google planning to roll out similar services of their own, the NFC trend is clearly poised to take off. However, managing the sudden rise in m-payment expenses could be challenging for enterprises, and in terms of keeping track of what employees are buying with their mobiles.

Momentum has been building behind the ‘wave and pay’ trend for some time now, but the launch of Orange and Barclaycard’s Quick Tap service sees the first steps to delivering this reality in the UK. As more consumers start buying goods and services on the move, there will inevitably be a knock-on effect for the business world, with m-payments becoming more commonplace in the expense mix.

Enterprises will have to keep a close eye on what employees are spending and ensure costs are assigned to the right departments – no matter where costs occur or the method of payment used.

It is vital that companies anticipate this change and scrutinise their expense management strategies to see how mobile payments can best be brought into the mix. These transactions need to be dealt with in exactly the same way as any other business expense that may traditionally have been made with card or cash.

Companies will also need to think about ways in which they can manage the split between private and business spending. The key is to find a way of integrating mobile payments alongside other elements of corporate spend on a single platform that can be accessed anywhere and anytime.

If enterprises can easily perform cost allocation, in-depth reporting and improve management control across all types of expense, they will be able to easily incorporate mobile payments into the overall picture of corporate spend.

Robert Kirby has more than 20 years experience in the expense management and payments industry, and has led business operations from three different continents. Prior to co-founding Spendvision in 2001, Robert held senior executive positions with Globeset, where he was initially based in Austin, Texas as VP responsible for B2B transaction services. Later he moved to Australia to become VP and general manager of the APAC and Japan business unit. Prior to Globeset, Robert held senior management positions at Telstra and led the development and implementation of eCommerce and payments products and services. Robert has held a position on the Board of the Australian Payments System Council – a body charged with advising the Australian Treasurer on the efficiency of the Australian payments system. He is also a member of the Commercial Payments International advisory board.