Bitcoin has been one of the true success stories of the 2010s, rising from under $1 per Bitcoin in 2009 to a high of $1100 per Bitcoin in 2014. Economists around the world are now talking up Bitcoin as a truly alternative currency, one that is not bound by countries or regulations, the first fully democratic currency. It seems that not a day goes by without a news story about how it is moving more into the mainstream, with more real world businesses accepting it, even some major companies like Overstock or Dell.
2013 was very much the year of the Bitcoin, where it gained mainstream attention and it was also the year that the currency became useful in real world applications. Various companies in a variety of businesses started to accept it as a form of payment. At first it was just tech companies that you would expect would be in on the ground floor of Bitcoin acceptance, but as more attention was given to the crypto currency, more traditional businesses began accepting Bitcoin as payment.
This raises the question: could Bitcoin ever truly be an acceptable currency in a retail environment, especially in a Brick & Mortar shop? The answer is yes, easily. Read on for some reasons why Bitcoin is a fantastic way for real businesses to take payment, and if you are convinced that it is the future of spending, the process by which you can buy it to spend in places that accept it.
Bitcoin for the merchant.
It’s Easy To Accept Payments
The biggest factor that will see Bitcoin payments come successfully to the retail environment is that it is really easy to accept payments. There are several different methods.
- A retailer can use a device that looks like a traditional credit card reader but instead uses a ‘Bitcoin’ card which identifies the customer’s wallet. The device transfers the amount of the purchase from the customers wallet to the retailers wallet instantly, and without any hassle. Most providers of these services charge 0.5% per transaction, which is a lot less than traditional credit card transactions charges.
- A terminal like that isn’t the only way a merchant can accept payment however, it can be even simpler. You can display a QR code for a product or service, which contains the wallet and the price of your item. The customer can scan it using one of many apps to instantly send the money to the merchant. This method of payment is quick, secure and best of all for the retailer, involves no transaction fees – meaning that they get the total amount of the purchase in their Bitcoin wallet.
With its ease of setup and the fact that it is a cheap way of receiving payments it is likely that lots of retailers will make the jump to Bitcoin as it gains more mainstream acceptance.
You Can Convert To ‘Real’ Currency Instantly
One great benefit for businesses if they accept Bitcoin is that, if they choose, they can convert any Bitcoin they receive from a customer into their local currency (Dollars, Pounds or any other currencies) instantly. It can be done as part of the transaction, so as the Bitcoin is received, it is immediately sold at the current exchange rate.
If you have an automatic system that updates the Bitcoin price as the rate of exchange changes throughout the day and pair it with this a retail store would be able to keep the Bitcoin price at the exact exchange rate in real time, and would get the exact amount they would have done if they had been paid in more traditional currencies.
Lower Transaction Fees
The hope for many people would be that this would replace credit cards in transactions, they just whip out their Bitcoin card, phone or any other Bitcoin payment device, and use that instead. This would be great news for a retailer as transactions fees for Bitcoin are currently non-existent so for online retailers to accept this digital currency would cost the retailer nothing.
Brick & Mortar businesses would need a Bitcoin payment processor, the fees for which are currently around 0.5%, or they could use mobile phone payment for no transaction charge. At the moment they are paying upwards of 3% to accept credit cards. An extra 2.5% profit margin is a huge incentive for a retailer to accept Bitcoin and may be one of the factors that pushes it into mainstream acceptance.
Bitcoin for the consumer
So you agree that Bitcoin is the future for retail purchases and now you want to get a head start on the coming wave? Well then you need to know how to buy Bitcoins and it’s simple. Just follow the steps below:
- Get a Bitcoin Wallet (BlockChain.Info is a trusty wallet provider)
- Buy some Bitcoins at a local Bitcoin ATM.
- Find a merchant that accepts Bitcoin.
- Each merchant will have a way of accepting your Bitcoin as payment. Just follow the merchant’s instructions to spend Bitcoin.
As you can see Bitcoin is a great and easy way to both receive money, and more importantly, to spend money.
It is easy to use, anonymous and safe. There seems to be little doubt that it would be a great alternative to normal currency that would be easy, cheap and global. As more and more major retailers begin accepting it then others will follow and the spread of Bitcoin will be quick and it won’t be long before almost everywhere is accepting the currency.