As small businesses leverage technology to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, contactless payments have helped companies increase hygiene during the payment process. But there are compelling reasons for small businesses to integrate contactless payments beyond the pandemic. According to a report from Juniper Research, contactless transactions in the United States are forecasted to grow from $178 billion in 2020 to $1.5 trillion in 2024.
Contactless payment technology is increasing because it creates value not only for consumers, but also for small businesses. Some of these benefits include:
• Faster transaction times. Contactless transactions are usually triggered by tapping a device against a payment system, which only takes a fraction of the time needed to insert a chip, swipe a card or key-in a PIN. If your business experiences large volumes of daily transactions or heavy demands at peak time, contactless payments will help.
• Increased sales volume. As contactless payments become more common, having this option opens your business to a greater number of customers. Additionally, business consulting firm Bain & Co. reported that users of mobile payment methods spend twice as much as non-users.
• Improved safeguards from fraud. Because contactless payment methods typically use EMV chips or two-factor authentication, it reduces the possibility of fraud. This means businesses will likely spend less time and hassle resolving charge disputes.
• Increased consumer confidence during the pandemic. Some consumers may feel more comfortable patronizing your business if they don’t have to physically touch your payment system.
If you’d like to set up contactless payment technology, you’ll need an NFC-enabled reader. Because of the popularity of contactless payments, many point-of-sale (POS) systems released in the last few years already have this capability. But if you have an older system, you may require plug-in readers for your existing hardware.
You may also need to update your software to meet contactless coding requirements and contactless chargeback rules — especially if you’ve added NFC-enabled readers to your current setup. It’s important to confirm that your software accepts the major payment networks including Amex, Visa and Mastercard. Consulting with your payment processing provider and financial institution will help you identify specific requirements for your business.
Depending on the needs of your business, it might be worth replacing your hardware to take advantage of the latest technology. Some new POS systems not only allow contactless payments, but also integrate cloud-based apps that can help run your business more efficiently. For example, one system turns your sales information into insights about customer spending patterns and supports apps such as employee scheduling or reservation management.
After you’ve met your hardware and software requirements, there are few ways to help your small business smoothly integrate this technology. First, let your customers know you support contactless payments. Placing in-store promotions or visible brands around your counter will create awareness that customers can tap and go. Second, train your staff in using contactless payments. If they understand the features of your new system, they can help your business operate more smoothly.
As a growing number of people adopt contactless payments, integrating this technology will provide greater convenience and ease of use for your customers. Your financial institution can help you deploy this technology if you feel it’s the right fit for your business. Remember, small businesses that meet customer needs will position themselves to weather the storm and recover after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chad Park is the Eastern Idaho market manager of Business Payments and Technology for Zions Bank, a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Member FDIC. He can be reached at 208-542-4456 or firstname.lastname@example.org.