Educating the World about Payroll Cards, one blog at a time…

Mobile Apps vs. Mobile Web …Does it matter to me?

Mobile apps are the latest craze in the mobile device market.  And it’s no wonder why, businesses are developing custom programs designed to perform very sophisticated services through a person specific device market. Everything from games to financial transactions to GPS driven locater services are now available, largely at no cost to the user.  The three primary “smart” platforms for mobile apps are the Android, iPhone and Blackberry.

Mobile web sites on the other hand are designed to function on any device with a web browser. This includes the three mobile platforms above, but also includes millions of other mobile phones that have web browsers for internet access.  A mobile website is simply an alternative version of an existing website designed to deliver an effective display of features to the mobile screen.  When accessing a standard website, the platform will typically recognize the incoming mobile device and automatically redirect access to the mobile site version for a better consumer website experience, with or without a “smart” phone platform.

The bottom line:  Whether an app or just a mobile site, most mobile platform web access has some limitations when compared to the accessing from a full screen computer.  With that in mind, both mobile aps and mobile websites can be very handy and helpful for accessing certain types of information.  For example, maybe I’m out and about and looking for a specific ATM network for using my debit card or ReadyFUND$ payroll card.  It’s nice to pull up an app (if I have a smart phone) or a mobile website (works for any web enabled phone) and it will tell me exactly where to go.

Does it matter to me which one I use?  Not at all, as long as it gives you the information you need in an easy to access and easy to read format.

Is my Mobile Phone really going to become my purse or wallet?

Mobile phone technology has grown so rapidly in the past 2 decades. I remember watching Saved by the Bell when Zach Morris had a “mobile phone”. It was a huge brick with an even longer antenna. Now the Saturday Night Live Will Ferrell skits featuring the matchbook sized cell phone aren’t too far off. We’ve evolved from playing snake on our brick phones to playing Angry Birds, updating our Facebook statuses and watching YouTube videos on our smart phones before breakfast.

So back to the question at hand, will my cell phone replace my wallet? Probably. Although I’ve never used it, there’s an app on my iPhone that you can swipe and charge someone’s credit card, great for a small business owner. It even organizes your customers “cards” by brand, their name, stores receipts and keeps accounting records.  Starbucks now has a mobile payment app too. Your phone displays a barcode that you place under their scanner, the barcode is linked to your Starbucks card, and the transaction is processed. Starbucks said it saw 3 million mobile transactions in the first 9 weeks after launch of the app. Europe began testing the iPhone “iWallet” last January. The iWallet allows consumers to pay for things the same way you buy a song on iTunes. It is setup and linked to your card of choice.

These companies may be onto something. Strike while the irons hot. This market is small now, not very saturated, and deemed sort of a niche. If someone like Apple grabbed this projected $600 billion market, you can believe the adoption rate would increase faster than the iPhone saturation. I’m not saying start throwing away your Gucci purses and Kenneth Cole wallets, but maybe start being aware of apps available for your phone and start noticing those funny box barcodes you see in retailers. Soon, in the not so distant future, someone will be writing a blog about how they remember us and our inefficient cell phone payment apps while they’re scanning barcodes on their wrists to buy a cup of coffee.

What scares employees about prepaid cards? Halloween Edition

 Are you an employer that has considered implementing prepaid payroll cards only to have your employees run and hide from the ghouls and goblins of electronic pay? This frightening experience is more common than you think. The largest reason businesses do not implement payroll cards is the scary uncertainty it brings to their employees. Most of the fright for employees is misconception, some is misunderstanding and some is just fear of change. Let’s highlight these below and let you know what you can do to unmask these ghouls and goblins for your employees.

Misconception- Some employees have a skewered view of what payroll cards are and what they can do. Many employees don’t realize they can still get access to all of their money, and at no charge. In a niche where cash rules, employees may have to be educated to the benefits of payroll cards versus cash. For instance no check cashing fees. If it is a MasterCard or Visa Card you can pay bills online or over the phone. Shop online and anywhere the card is accepted. Get your paycheck instantly without having to drive anywhere. Get cash back. For these employees, they may not have had this feature available to them before and may confuse payroll cards with other prepaid cards on the market. A little education and real world examples will help this group of employees feel more comfortable and even excited about payroll cards.

Misunderstanding- Employees in this group may have fears and misunderstandings about how payroll cards work and impact their money. These employees may worry about losing their money little by little with fees. They may worry about being able to get their money off of their card. They may even be worried if they lose the card they lose their money. These are legitimate worries, and may have been valid with previous payroll cards. But payrolls cards have made leaps and bounds in the past few years ensuring consumer protection. Funds are FDIC ensured and if a cardholder loses their card it’s the same as someone losing their debit card, the funds are protected. Many payroll card providers have also limited the fees charged to cardholders. And recent payroll card regulations ensure payroll card providers give cardholders the opportunity to 100% access of their money at no charge. Paper checks don’t even offer that since many times they have to pay a check cashing fee that payroll cards eliminate.  These card holders want to be assured that they can access their money when they want it, and that they are not going to be nickel and dimed in fees. 

Fear of Change- People in general know this fear all too well. For many, the advancing fear of technological progression can be overwhelming. What’s a tweet? Why do I need a Facebook? You can do what with your phone now? This kind of fear doesn’t just happen with technology. This group of employees may feel this kind of fear as well when asked to change their spending and payday routines. Check cashing and fees may just feel easier and less overwhelming to deal with then direct deposit and debit cards. But as with all change, things just get easier as you do it. For many employers, when the choice of change is left up to the employees,  there is minimal adoption.  You know it’s good for your business. You know it’s good for your employees. You just have to implement it and be patient with your employees, and they will accept it.  You may even have them try it for several pay periods and if they don’t like it, you can always go back to checks (although that never happens). According to the NACHA 97% of employees that use electronic pay are satisfied with it. Trust that you are making the right decision for your business and employees.

Don’t be afraid to implement an electronic pay solution for your employees. You are benefiting your employees, saving processing costs for your business and doing your part to save the planet. It may be scary for a little while, but just like some of the ghouls and goblins of Halloween, this too shall pass.

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