As more people turn to contactless payments, small businesses must be prepared to offer this option to their customers.
Contactless payments allow people to pay for goods or services without physically swiping or inserting their payment card into a machine. It has completely transformed the way customers make purchases.
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So, whether you’re running a salon or a food truck, it’s time to jump onto the contactless wave. But is your business ready for contactless payments?
Let’s discuss why your business should start adopting contactless payment technology and how you can prepare for it.
Why should your business go contactless?
In an age where consumers increasingly expect quick and hassle-free transactions, contactless payments offer several benefits your small business cannot ignore.
Firstly, contactless payments provide a faster and more streamlined payment process. Customers can tap their card or mobile device to complete a transaction, ensuring a quicker checkout and increased customer satisfaction.
Here is an image that shows how contactless payments may be made.
Furthermore, contactless payments enhance security measures. Traditional payment methods, such as credit or debit cards, require customers to input a PIN or sign a receipt, leaving them vulnerable to being watched by fraudsters.
However, contactless payments rely on advanced encryption and security protocols to protect users’ sensitive financial information. This reduces the risk of fraud and stealing data while increasing the speed and ease of transactions.
Moreover, going contactless could attract new customers, especially those who prefer digital transactions and value convenience in their shopping experiences.
Take, for example, this study, Contactless payments are motivators for riders to take public transportation.
This also ensures your business stays competitive and relevant in the growing digital economy.
Contactless payments reduce the risk of virus transmission, something more pertinent now than a few years ago. It’s a pain point a lot of people are worried about. You don’t have to handle an object that has probably been through the hands of a dozen people and has not been disinfected.
How to prepare your small business for contactless payments
If you’re thinking of shifting your business to a contactless payment model, you must realize that you can’t do it overnight. It would be best if you did a bit of preparation before you can start taking contactless payments. Here are some of the things you need to consider.
Focus on security
Regarding payments, the one quality people value even more than convenience and ease of use is security. Customers want the assurance that their transactions push through and their money goes to the intended recipient. It is one of the most critical factors they consider while shopping on any website or app.
To secure your small business for contactless payments, ensure that all devices used for processing payments comply with the latest security standards. This might mean upgrading your point-of-sale terminals to newer credit card machines or updating software to include the latest security patches.
Also, ensure that your payment processors and gateways are PCI-DSS compliant, providing guidelines for securely processing credit card transactions.
Most contactless payment suppliers offer a combination of cybersecurity features such as encryption, tokenization, authentication technology, and security protocols that help to identify and prevent fraudulent activity.
Still, displaying your security certifications and accreditations will convince your customers that their payment data and money will be safe if they transact with you – the same way you’ll obtain a business license and showcase it somewhere on your premises to show you’re a vetted and legal enterprise. It helps build consumer confidence in your business and its systems.
Visa explains how contactless security works, encouraging customers to trust it.
Additionally, educating your employees about the best practices for handling contactless payments is essential. This includes training employees to use contactless payment devices properly and teaching them how to spot and prevent fraud.
They should also be encouraged to regularly monitor transactions for suspicious activity and report any management concerns immediately.
Finally, it is crucial to have a response plan in place in case a security breach occurs. This plan should outline the steps your business will take in the event of a data breach, including how to prevent further damage and mitigate the potential impact on customers.
Use NFC-enabled payments and mobile wallets.
NFC is a wireless communication technology that enables data transmission between two devices close to each other. Mobile wallets use NFC technology to help customers make payments by tapping their phones on a payment terminal.
The technology relies on transmitters built into smartphones, smartwatches, credit cards, and other wearable gadgets. These transmitters beam a burst of information over a short distance. The payment portals pick up these signals and process the payment.
This method has grown increasingly popular over the years, with the likes of Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay offering mobile wallet solutions.
According to Statista, the global NFC market is expected to reach 47.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2024.
So, how can you use this technology as a small business owner?
The answer is simple – invest in a point-of-sale (POS) NFC-enabled system. This will allow you to accept payments from customers using mobile wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and Samsung Pay, among others.
In addition, you can use mobile wallets to store loyalty cards and coupons. Your customers can easily access their loyalty rewards and discounts using mobile phones.
This allows you to keep up with the latest payment trends, boost customer loyalty, and increase your overall business efficiency.
Offer multiple options
Limiting your business to just one contactless payment option is like accepting only cash for payment. If your company uses only one contactless payment method, you turn away customers who don’t use it.
Aside from signing up with different NFC payment vendors like Visa, Mastercard, Samsung Pay, or Apple Pay, you must also accommodate other payment methods and incorporate alternative ways to verify email addresses. Email verification is an important step in the customer registration process, ensuring that the email provided is valid and belongs to the user. By implementing email verification services or APIs, you can verify the authenticity of email addresses and reduce the risk of fake accounts or spam.
NFC terminals are the most common contactless payment method, while mobile e-wallets, QR codes, and barcodes are gaining popularity fast.
The last three options are contactless compared to NFC terminals, requiring users to tap their cards to complete purchases. Mobile e-wallet users can send payments to your store’s nominated bank account through a mobile number. For additional security, you can create a QR code for payment that users can scan to make payments conveniently.
In the future, hardly any business will display their account or mobile numbers out of security concerns. Creating a QR code for your business now will allow you to accept payment for years securely. PayPal users, for example, can use the app to generate QR codes connected to their accounts.
It is worth noting that smartwatches and biometric-based payments are also becoming a more popular option for contactless payments. Users can hold their watch close to a payment terminal to purchase with their built-in NFC chips.
While Biometric-based payments incorporate biometric identifiers like fingerprints or facial recognition to authorize transactions, companies like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay have implemented this technology for mobile payments.
Use loyalty apps
Despite the advantages of contactless payment methods, many customers still insist on paying with cash or swipe cards. To encourage them to go contactless, you may use loyalty apps to reward customers who switch.
Many supermarkets, restaurants, and other businesses use data from contactless payment channels to offer loyalty points and discounts to loyal customers. Customers may exchange their loyalty points for exclusive items and additional discounts on their purchases, improving their experience.
You can customize your loyalty apps to suit your specific requirements and preferences. This means that you can tailor your apps to include features such as loyalty points, discount codes, gift cards, customer feedback, and mobile ordering.
For instance, Dunkin’s rewards and loyalty app allows customers to redeem their points for food and drinks.
These apps also enable you to gather customer data, which you can use to personalize customer offers and promotions.
For example, if you are marketing your healthcare, you can use the data to send patients appointment reminders, health tips, and other guides.
This personalized approach can foster brand loyalty and help small businesses stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
How secure are loyalty apps, though?
Most loyalty apps offer various security features, such as fingerprints and two-factor authentication.
As economies and money have evolved, so have the various ways we pay for goods and services. Recent events have sped up the evolution of payment methods and forced customers and businesses to move away from a cash-centric payment model. Your business must also accept contactless payments to thrive in a post-lockdown world.
Choose payment partners with advanced security features to prepare your business for contactless payments. You must also strengthen your cloud and network infrastructure to accommodate payment methods like NFC, e-wallets, and QR codes. Finally, use loyalty apps to encourage your customers to go cashless.
While there is still a bit of resistance to contactless payment, your customers will soon realize that it is safer, more secure, and more convenient. Your job is to help them recognize those advantages through proper preparation.
Austin Andrukaitis is the CEO of ChamberofCommerce. He’s an experienced digital marketing strategist with many years of experience in creating successful online campaigns. Austin’s approach to developing, optimizing, and delivering web-based technologies has helped businesses