The Electronic Transactions Association’s (ETA) Mobile Payments Committee recently released three key resources to assist company members and the public at large in assessing the true nature and current status of the burgeoning mobile payments industry.

There has been a great deal of attention, some would call it hype, paid to this advancing sector of the overall payments arena by the press in the last year or so. The enthusiasm surrounds the possibilities provided by smartphone technology and how it will reshape our commercial landscape in the years ahead.

According to its website, the ETA is “an international trade association representing companies who offer electronic transaction processing products and services. The purpose of ETA is to influence, monitor and help shape the merchant acquiring industry by providing leadership through education, advocacy and the exchange of information.”

In support of its industry mission, the group has produced two whitepapers that speak to best practices and the high level of hype regarding expectations for implementation timetables for mobile payment technology. A detailed glossary of terms has also been assembled to aid in understanding the transition to this significantly different way to pay, market, and transact business going forward.

These two white papers are available for immediate download online at the following address: . Here is a brief rundown on the subject matter in each briefing paper:

  • Best Practices and Guidelines for Mobile Payment Solutions: This document is a succinct presentation of what the mobile payment revolution is about, who the major stakeholders are, and what motivates each participant in the process. This introduction is followed by a “Best Practices” section that focuses upon the key issues in this early development initiative – security, privacy, competition, technology, and contracts. The information is delivered in a straightforward, bulleted fashion that is easy to read and digest;
  • Beyond the Hype: Mobile Payments for Merchants: This companion piece is more in the form of a dissertation on the status of the mobile payments industry, potential benefits for merchants, and a detailed discussion of risks and costs from a merchant’s perspective. Perhaps of special interest, however, is the section that follows these introductory topics. The next twelve pages highlight the key questions revolving around each aspect of mobile services, including a section on “wireless” transaction processing that is already fully tested and imminently deployable.

We highly recommend that you download these materials today. In the meantime, we are here to assist your entry into this “Brave New World” by helping you align your operation with a merchant processor that is up-to-date on these new technologies and sufficiently prepared to support your individual needs going forward.