One part of what the Jersey Bitcoin community is trying to do is to get more Jersey businesses to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. At first, it can be hard for a merchant to see what the benefits are over traditional forms of payment, but after learning a bit more about the process of accepting Bitcoin, it becomes obvious that there is no risk in doing so.
Currently if a merchant wants to accept a digital form of payment, they have the following options: Credit/Debit Card, Paypal (or similar), NFC payments or some kind of pre-loaded card. Each one of these comes with a high transaction fee percentage (between 2-5%) and usually requires purchasing new hardware (EPOS machines, terminals, etc) and sometimes a monthly fee (line rental for example). All these added costs mean that usually a merchant puts in place a minimum transaction amount to allow these forms of payment. This solves the problem from a merchants point of view but causes the customer frustration with this restriction, especially for low value goods (newspaper, coffee, etc) where you’d be forced to purchase more than intended to be able to pay digitally.
It is a common part of modern life where, especially younger customers, don’t carry cash. In their mind, being able to pay with a swipe or tap with a card is much easier than having to visit a cash point, withdraw cash, and then have to carry the spare change after the transaction. This can become obviously apparent by anyone who, after a night out, has woken up to only find their wallet or purse’s weight multiply by the amount of change gathered after every transaction.
Currently in Jersey, we don’t have an island-wide system for digital payments. Some places allow no-minimum card transactions, some have piloted tap-to-pay systems, some with NFC or Passbook versions. None are widespread, which leads to a gap in the market for a payment platform to integrate at every level of society and commerce.
Bitcoin could be this system.
For a merchants point of view, if they already have a smartphone or tablet, they can be setup to accept Bitcoin in a matter of minutes. If not, buying a tablet or smartphone for retailer is a one-off cost that has a resell value if needed. There is no monthly fee, the transaction completes in seconds so that the merchant isn’t waiting several days for the funds & if the merchant isn’t converting straight out to FIAT, there is a historical trend of that Bitcoin being worth more in a month than it was at the time of transaction. If the merchant does wish to get out to FIAT instantly, there are a number of payment processors that offer this service, as well as members of bit.coin.je have decided that they would happily purchase bitcoin from local merchants (most likely during our fortnightly meetups).
The added benefit of this form of payment is that apart from the potential tourism opportunities of Jersey being a Bitcoin-centric island, merchants could have their goods paid for online by a customer anywhere in the world without having to convert from their native currency into GBP. This opens up a Jersey business to a global marketplace, which currently would be great asset to Jersey’s export strategy.
If you are a Jersey business/merchant and want to learn more, please come along to our next meetup where our various bitcoiners can help you learn more about the process. You can keep up-to-date with our meeting schedule by signing up to our newsletter.