Business tips

Five ways contactless payments offer a safer and more efficient payment alternative.

By Ryan Gibbons on
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Today’s health-conscious and time-strapped consumers are grappling with numerous important priorities. At the same time that they are looking to protect themselves from a deadly virus, they are simultaneously busier than ever, and are looking to make their shopping experiences convenient and simple. Luckily, contactless payments are able to meet all of these consumers’ needs.

A word about definitions.

As a consumer yourself, you have no doubt experienced touchless payments in your daily shopping life – but do you know how they work? Thanks to innovative technology that uses radio frequency identification (RFID) and near-field communications (NFC), even the smallest business’s portable card reader can also serve as a contactless card reader. Customers simply place their contactless credit cards or digital wallet-equipped smartphones near your reader so their identities can be authenticated. The transaction is then either accepted or declined by the cardholder’s issuing bank. Ultimately, both merchant and shopper are left with a safe, efficient, and secure payment option. Let’s take a look at just five of the ways buyers and sellers are reaping the benefits of contactless payments technology.

1. Increased hygiene.

If there is anything the coronavirus has taught us, it’s that close physical contact can actually be dangerous. Consequently, we have become accustomed to staying six feet apart from each other, as well as doing our best to avoid touching surfaces that might be contaminated. Unfortunately, this wariness extends to cash, credit cards, and your point of sale equipment.

With this in mind, it’s easy to see how touchless payments have met a very crucial societal need. Now, a customer’s hand-held device or card never needs to directly touch anything, leading to increased safety and hygiene for all parties involved.

2. Enhanced speed.

No one likes to wait in line, and fears of contracting COVID-19 have made this experience even less appealing to your potential customers. Retailers are equally averse to long, slow queues, which often lead to frustrated buyers, and harried staff. However, until recently there was simply no alternative.

Nowadays, contactless payments are helping to put pep in everyone’s step. Transactions can now be completed quickly, with no need for the buyer to fumble for cash or authenticate their identity with the cashier. Instead, the transaction is completed during the seamless interplay between a customer’s device, and the merchant’s contactless card reader.

Many touchless readers are also portable. That means they aren’t tied to a stationary counter and can instead be deployed throughout the store to serve as a line-busting solution. Purchases can be completed right on the sales floor where the buyer has viewed the item, eliminating the need to wait in a long line at the register.

3. No sacrifice in security.

Contactless payments may be fast and easy, but that doesn’t mean they take shortcuts when it comes to payments security. In fact, you and your customers can expect the same high level of safety that is found with standard EMV card transactions. In addition, the fact that the device is never out of the customer’s possession drastically cuts down on the possibility of theft or loss.

The key lies in the digital wallet technology that is built into all modern smartphones. Customers simply input their credit card payment data into the application where it is then encrypted and securely stored for later use. Any cybercriminal who steals a customer’s smartphone would then be unable to gain access to the password-protected payment data stored within the digital wallet. Furthermore, when it’s time to make a payment, all sensitive information is encrypted and transmitted using a one-time secure token, thus eliminating the possibility that a criminal could use the sensitive payment details at a later date.

4. Heightened customer satisfaction.

As a business owner, striving to provide maximum customer happiness is probably one of your highest priorities. Thanks to contactless payments, you and your staff can go a long way toward making that happen.

After all, if customers feel their transactions can be conducted with speed, efficiency, and security, they will leave either your physical store or your website with a positive attitude about both their buying experience and your brand. This often translates into positive word of mouth about you to friends and family.

5. Streamlined processing.

You probably already take advantage of the many updated features that are jam-packed into your modern point of sale system. On the off chance that you are still limping along with a legacy solution however, take a look at just a few of the advantages that a modern set of software and hardware can bring to your business. 

  • Customer relationship management tools that allow you to create and maintain a customer database, and then target your marketing correspondence to fit individual demographics and interests.
  • Inventory management that lets you keep track of everything you have purchased, alerts you when items are running low, and can be used to automate the reordering process.
  • Robust reporting capabilities that eliminate the need for manual spreadsheets and guesswork. This will allow you to keep track of sales progress and employee performance, as well as forecast sales trends that can set you up for success in the coming months and years.

Contactless technology can seamlessly integrate into almost any modern point of sale system. Once you have put it in place, you can leverage it to address safety concerns, without sacrificing any of the back-office business benefits you may already be enjoying. By the way, if you still haven’t jumped on the point of sale bandwagon, there really is no time like the present. You simply cannot afford to get left behind while your competition moves forward to meet evolving customer needs and desires.

Environmentally conscious.

Because contactless payments technology can easily integrate into the other systems you already have in place, you can easily eliminate the majority of your paper use. For one thing, receipts can be emailed to customers instead of being printed out, a feature many people appreciate because it cuts down on the need to keep track of small slips of paper for product returns. Your records can be maintained electronically instead of via written spreadsheets and notes jotted down on envelopes that are simply thrown into a junk drawer until tax time rolls around. In the end, your bookkeeping and that of your customers can be markedly enhanced with the environmentally friendly, paperless technology your contactless reader integrates with.

Are you ready to offer contactless payments?

After hearing about all of the benefits touchless payments offer, you might want to incorporate them into your business model. Then again, you’re likely wondering if the process of doing so will be too difficult or expensive. Fortunately, it is not nearly as onerous as you may fear.

Because touchless payments are becoming more commonplace, most financial institutions offer the specially equipped credit and debit cards that are used for these transactions. In addition, most payment processing companies are more than happy to provide merchants with the necessary contactless readers. Most sellers also elect to let their patrons know that they are now receiving contactless payments via their social media pages and on their websites. The more you can get the word out about your safe and secure new features, the better it will be for your business.

In the next few years, it seems likely that the COVID-19 pandemic will recede as the population becomes vaccinated against the virus. In time, many of the precautions and protocols that were implemented during the height of the pandemic will most likely fall away. However, it is highly likely that contactless payments are here to stay.

Long after consumers are social distancing, they will still appreciate the additional hygiene that making touchless payments affords. They will also continue to value the speed, efficiency, and security that this transaction method offers. As cash recedes further and further into the background, and people increasingly rely on their digital wallet-equipped smartphones and cards, touchless payments are poised to become more popular than ever.