In today's topsy-turvy economic climate, businesses of all stripes are turning to contactless payments for a safe and secure experience in response to safety concerns about the physical act of paying for things out in the world.
Three in 10 consumers (29 percent) worry about contracting COVID-19 from cash and 22 percent from credit cards. So it’s not surprising to learn that, even in the early weeks of the pandemic, 30 percent of shoppers switched to contactless methods. Of those who were new to it, 70 percent said they planned to use it even after the immediate health crisis is over.
These steps are supported by authorities up to and including the World Health Organization (WHO) and have been implemented quickly by major companies such as Publix.
Contactless on the Rise
Prior to COVID-19, shoppers were already demanding a faster payment experience. Contactless delivers that and is a safer alternative to cash or cards. No need to swipe or insert (and wait for approval)—now the customer can tap or even wave their card or phone from a distance.
Contactless cards are not actually that new. They’ve been used since the early 2000s, but have only recently started to rise in popularity. In fact, more than 60 percent of all Visa transactions are made on a contactless terminal, including at large retailers like Target and CVS.
And the market can only grow, considering that only 3 percent of cards in the U.S. are contactless, compared to huge numbers abroad, including 64 percent in the U.K. and 96 percent in South Korea. But stores are ready for a spike in contactless use—70 percent of their payment terminals already accept it. This year looks promising for mobile payment as well, with a projected 76 million smartphone owners (33.1 percent) expected to use it.
Faster, Safer, More Convenient
As anyone who has tried it knows, contactless is the younger, more attractive sibling of traditional payment options. Here are just a few reasons why.
- It’s faster. Contactless is the Ferrari 458 to every other payment method’s Toyota Corolla. A quick tap or wave of the phone, and your customers leave fully satisfied.
- It’s safer. Mobile wallets are encrypted and often use tokenization, making a contactless payment safer than the same transaction over an older piece of technology, such as a card reader.
- It’s growing. There now seems to be a near-endless list of mobile payment options, including Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, and Chase Pay, to name a few.
It’s Not Just for Phones
The contactless revolution isn’t contained to smartphones. In fact, a growing number of devices in our homes and on the road are playing an increasingly large role in the payment process.
- Paying from your car. Consumers can expect most new cars to come internet-ready as of the year 2020. This means that the commute will no longer just be a source of traffic and frustration; it will also be an opportunity to pay in advance for auto-friendly items such as gas, parking, and coffee. Nearly 40 percent of drivers already do this.
- Paying from your smart speaker. Sales of these home devices have soared in recent years, from 900 million in 2016 to nearly 12 billion in 2019. That year, approximately 35 percent of homes in the U.S. had a speaker, a number which is expected to shoot up to 75 percent by 2025. And people use these devices to shop—38 million are expected to do so by 2021.
- Paying from your wrist. We have been in the era of smart watches for a while, and consumers use them to buy lunch, hail an Uber, or transfer money to a friend. This year, 62 percent of wearables are expected to have payment capabilities.
A Safer Way to Serve Your Customers
You and your customers both want the same thing: a safe and secure transaction that gives them the product or service they want and helps keep your doors open. Contactless payments are key to making this happen.
- They cut down on the need to touch a physical terminal and therefore reduce the chance of infection from that touchpoint.
- They take cash out of the transaction and lower the chances of spreading a virus from customer to employee and back again.
- With no PIN entry or other buttons to push, transactions are faster, cutting down the amount of time people need to spend in the store.
- They reduce the number (and length) of in-person interactions, allowing everyone to practice social distancing while still taking care of their essential needs.
Combined with curbside pickup, contactless payments will be an invaluable tool in getting businesses through these challenging times.
If your business needs a fast, secure way to keep transactions moving that also ensures the safety of its patrons, Poynt’s comprehensive platform makes this solution easy and affordable to implement.