You may have heard a phrase recently that’s quickly becoming more popular: “the Internet of Things.” This refers to the idea that modern appliances, home electronics, cars, and even structures like bridges and dams increasingly come with sensors and internet connections that let you monitor them from any location and automate some of their functions. For instance, if a spring day turns out to be unseasonably warm, you can order your air conditioner to start up while you’re at work so that you won’t walk into a boiling room when you get home.
Some of these automated functions can involve making payments to third parties. A smart refrigerator could keep track of its contents and order replacement food from a grocery store off a list you prepare in advance, or a pool chemical monitor could drop in the chemicals it needs to stay clean and then order replacement bottles when it runs low. You could even get a special pill dispenser that delivers the pills you need for a given time of day and can schedule refills and doctor visits as the prescriptions you type into its system expire.
Of course, all these automated payments have to go through a secure network, and the merchants selling these plugged-in products need to set up these network channels in advance so that all the customer has to do is enter his or her payment information and start customizing the automated systems. Some customers may prefer the added customization and control that come with choosing a direct payment, but most usually want to attach a credit or debit card and be done with it.
Because of this, if you’re in the business of making these smart products that can make payments in their owners’ names, you shouldn’t just assume that the payments will be something for the customer and the other merchants to work out. Your product is acting as a middleman for every one of these transactions, and your company needs to keep this fact in mind when developing or adapting the software your product needs to do so.
It also helps to establish relationships with the trusted national organizations that sell what your product buys, and you can consult a payment processing company to learn about the process and have the right tools and security in place.
The Internet of Things may mean that the world is becoming more convenient for the end users who buy smart products, but it also makes life more complicated for the companies adding all these features. If your company is part of that crowd or looking to join it, make sure you’re ready to handle the extra problems that come with it.
Posted in Payment Processing on Mar 21, 2017