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Text to Pay: Passing Trend or Massive Opportunity?

Apr 26, 2023

Ask consumers to describe their optimal payment experience, and they’ll likely report speed, security and convenience.

Text to pay, or paying through Short Message Service (SMS), satisfies these ideals. Simple, expedient and, with the right platform, safe, text to pay has understandably become an increasingly popular form of digital payment.

With mobile payment apps used by an estimated four out of five Americans, it seems that businesses would benefit from employing a variation on the trend with their own simplified and frictionless payment platform. But put the obvious advantages of SMS payments aside for a moment. 

Is pay-by-text a passing craze, or is it here to stay?

Table of Contents

How Does SMS Payment Work?

Text to pay is the act of paying for products and services through text. The process is straightforward:

  • Businesses text customers an invoice or payment prompt with the option of paying via a secure link
  • Customers use the link to input their credit card details, pay with funds in their digital wallet (like Apple Pay) or use their card information on file

The pandemic ushered in the necessity of remote, contactless payments. Still, the appeal of mobile payment apps and peer-to-peer (P2P) payments like Venmo and text-to-pay has not only lingered but grown dramatically. The latest data demonstrates that 35% of small business consumers prefer to pay by text, while some experts anticipate that SMS payments will skyrocket in popularity in the coming years.

Advantages of Text to Pay

Roughly 68% of businesses use SMS to communicate with customers, whether for an appointment reminder or to promote a sale. Extending this to include a fast, streamlined way to pay via text may enhance your customers’ experience

More specifically, text to pay:

  • Provides convenience – 9 out of 10 consumers prefer to communicate with businesses via SMS instead of by phone. Pay by text meets this consumer demand while also furnishing customers with the ease of paying in two to three taps. 
  • Accelerates payment processing – Text to pay accepts payments in real-time, and is substantially faster than making a phone call, sending a check in the mail or logging in online. Thus, it can improve cash flow for businesses. Plus, since text messages have a considerably higher open rate than emails, you probably won’t have to chase after your customers with payment reminders.
  • Mitigates payment processing errors – Text to pay allows customers to use their preferred payment methods, such as PayPal or Google Pay. This can help businesses avoid chargebacks due to card issues and help customers catch and fix payment errors more easily.

Current Usage and Trends

The latest statistics reveal that a mere 4% of small businesses offer the option to pay by text. This might be due to the relative newness of the practice, which may raise concerns about the security of SMS payments. 

However, SMS payments may be less vulnerable to fraud: Customers must provide explicit consent to receive texts from a business, payment prompts are submitted from a verified number and SMS payment providers use secure payment portals.

With all that said, SMS payments are on the rise in several industries, particularly:

  • Real estate 
  • Restaurants
  • Salons 
  • Businesses that offer subscription-based services

Adopters of SMS payments view pay by text as a practical progression of consumers using their smartphones to conduct everything from online shopping to making dinner reservations. 

They also know that consumers want a range of payment options and a streamlined checkout experience—and that as many as 73% of consumers state they would cease doing business with a company if their checkout experience failed to meet their expectations. 

Challenges and Limitations

As with all things related to technology, text to pay will only evolve and improve as time progresses. What challenges and limitations presently exist may be manageable with the right platform, insights and advantages, such as:

  • Compliance – To implement text to pay, you must first comply with SMS guidelines, including obtaining express consent from your consumers and allowing them to opt out. 

The opt-in and opt-out process can be as simple as asking customers to text you an SMS keyword. Compliance is even easier when you have a reputable SMS marketing platform, like Textedly, to help you navigate the rules.

  • Integration – There are several steps you’ll need to take to implement SMS payments, like selecting an SMS payment provider that offers Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant, secure integration. 

Platforms such as Textedly serve as a one-stop shop for your SMS and MMS needs, including Text to Pay Services, which include helpful features like a seamless merchant setup and a broad view of incoming payments.

  • Fees – Some forms of payment may be subject to a card-not-present rate, depending on the platform you use and the financial institutions you accept. Many businesses generally accept these fees because expanded payment options translate to a more diverse (and reliable) revenue stream. 

Harness the Future of Payments with Textedly

Mobile payments are predicted to become the go-to payment method for consumers. By 2028, the U.S. mobile payment market is expected to reach $11.83 billion. SMS payments stand to become a large segment of this, as it can be a win-win situation for businesses and consumers.

Text-to-Pay by Textedly can help you get in on the action. Our services enable you to submit payment reminders, streamline recurring payments and boost your cash flow, all through a secure system that safeguards your customers’ data.

Gain an edge over your competitors by scheduling a demo with us today.


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