Mobile POS Platforms May ‘Tow’ in New Opportunities in Utah

The state of Utah may see a mobile POS boom this year if a bill presently before the Utah state legislature becomes law.

In an effort to curtail predatory towing practices, members of the Utah State House voted 66-4 on Tuesday to mandate tow truck operators to accept debit or credit card payments.

The proposal now moves to the Utah State Senate.

“The bill,” explains Antone Clark of Utah’s Standard-Examiner, “is seen as consumer protection against towing companies that aggressively hook up cars parked in spots for too long or left on the road, and then expect cash payment, sometimes inflating the cost when the car is impounded overnight.”

Thanks to the affordability of many mobile payments systems, however, it will be difficult for opponents of the bill to argue that such a requirement will place a detrimental burden on towing companies. Industry-wide examples point to the contrary, one lawmaker argued Wednesday.

PayAnywhere, for example, offers a mobile POS solution capable of accepting credit and debit cards for payment, without terminal rental fees, monthly fees, or any charges beyond a small percentage fee for swiped transactions. Businesses even receive a professional-grade credit card reader at no cost that’s compatible with today’s leading smartphones and tablets.

That hardly sounds like a “burden,” bipartisan supporters of the bill contend.

“Towing is a function that has to happen. However, there is also a side that needs to be considered,” Rep. Dixon Pitcher says, adding that predatory towing practices fall hardest on people who are “one bill away from one disaster in life.”

Rep. Steven Eliason agrees.

“I dare you to find another industry that charges over $200 and doesn’t take credit cards,” the lawmaker stated this week.