Since its introduction in the UK just af ew years ago, contactless payments have quickly become a popular way to make low value purchases on debit and credit cards.
In October 2015, more than 10 per cent of all card transactions were made by contactless cards ; a year before, the figure was less than 4 per cent.
Supermarkets have been among the most voracious early adopters of ‘tap and pay’ technology, but that doesn’t mean the solution is only for large retailers or chains. The situation is fast approaching where consumers expect to pay with a tap of their card, and smaller retailers will begin to look behind the times if they can’t provide this option for their customers.
With contactless payments set to increasingly become the norm as consumers look for convenient ways to pay, we asked James Frost, UK CMO, Worldpay, to explain why small businesses should integrate contactless into their retail operations and to give some advice on how best to do it.
Contactless payments – the new way to pay
What is so significant about contactless technology is how quickly it has been adopted and embraced by consumers. Other innovations – most notably the ATM – took decades to establish trust among its users; by comparison, contactless has gone from novelty to mainstream in no more than four years.
In 2020 new regulations will come in to force requiring all card terminals in the UK to be contactless enabled so it’s a great opportunity to get ahead of the game.
It’s clear that consumers both like and trust contactless. Proved by its rapid adoption in all manner of environments, from shops to restaurants to public transport. What is more, the increase in the transaction limit to £30 last year demonstrates how people value the convenience it brings over the fear of fraud or theft.
A large part of the appeal is contactless is so fast, so intuitive, and so ubiquitous – not just as a means for making purchases in shops, but for travelling on transport – from the London underground to taxis and, by 2020 perhaps, on all Britain’s buses.
In fact, it’s become such an integral part of daily lives that many notice its absence more than we appreciate its presence.
Contactless is easier than you think
The risk for smaller retailers is that by failing to adopt contactless, they alienate consumers who expect to simply tap-and-go. Once you’ve experienced contactless, the process of entering a PIN, waiting for the connection and obtaining a printed receipt seems archaic and time-consuming.
In a competitive retail world where “customer experience” is everything, ignoring contactless seems dangerously complacent.
The benefits of contactless, and the dangers of failing to adopt it, are clear; so how should small business owners go about implementing the technology?
With the rise in transaction value to £30, contactless now makes even more sense to smaller businesses, especially those with high volumes of low spend – for example, newsagents, cafés and bars. Moreover, contactless isn’t just about the customer: the speed of transactions makes it ideal for businesses that need to serve customers quickly and cut down queues.
6 Tips to help you implement contactless payments in your business
For any business that wants to introduce contactless, there are six key pieces of advice to make sure that they can introduce the technology smoothly and effectively:
1. Look at the business case
Take a look at your typical transaction volumes and values: if you often take payments of £30 or less, and if your business frequently experiences heavy demands and queues at peak times, then contactless will undoubtedly help.
2. Keep it simple
Contactless is all about speed and convenience, so review the entire payments process to ensure that all customers need to do is tap and go. For example, it doesn’t make sense to force café customers to queue up to pay when they’ve already waited to order.
3. Review your existing technology
If you’ve recently adopted new payment terminals, there is every chance that they are contactless-enabled. If that’s the case, all you need to do to get started is contact your payments provider to enable this function; if not, then have a chat with your provider to talk about upgrade options.
4. Get the right spec
Check your terminal supports the latest technical specifications for High Value NFC. A payments provider like Worldpay can help manage the compliance and specification needs for your business.
5. Let people know that you support contactless
There is no point enabling contactless payments if customers aren’t aware of the fact. A few in-store adverts or visible brands around the counter will help customers know that they can tap and go.
6. Train your staff
Not only do employees need to understand the technology, but they need to promote it to customers. They will need to have a good grasp of factors such as maximum spend and security features to ensure that they can effectively sell the benefits of contactless to customers.
If you’re not yet taking card payments but considering implementing the technology, make sure that your chosen supplier provides a contactless ready terminal to avoid having to upgrade kit at a later date.
A good payment provider will be able to help your business to adopt contactless in the most effective, hassle-free way. It is well worth having that conversation at the earliest opportunity; after all, the faster you implement contactless, the sooner you will be able to provide the payment experience your customers have come to expect.
More help on ByteStart
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