Even before the global Coronavirus outbreak, the use of cash has steadily been declining and the use of contactless payments has been on the rise.
According to a recent report by “Which?” 6 out of every 10 transactions were made with cash a decade ago but today we use cash for just 3 in 10 transactions. Payment network processors Mastercard have also recently revealed that 66 per cent of all transactions across the UK are now contactless.
As the UK emerges from lockdown and industries grapple with the best way to implement measures that can protect both customers and revenues, cashless payments, and technology such as SMART payment kiosks, that enable these types of transactions, look set to play a vital role in helping to instil consumer confidence in the post-Covid-19 world.
Whether it’s paying for parking or buying a coffee, the outbreak of Covid-19 has led to a big shift in consumer attitudes; hygiene is now at the forefront of everyone’s minds and as we emerge from lockdown consumers will seek out businesses that have taken steps to mitigate risk and ensure safety.
The World Health Organisation has even declared that “it would be advisable to use contactless payments instead of cash to reduce the risk of transmission”, emphasising the need for industries and sectors to adapt and embrace contactless payment technology wherever possible.
This is particularly pertinent for sectors like public transport where scores of people congregate at busy transports hubs, like train stations, waiting to purchase tickets. In this instance, deploying technology such as SMART payment machines can help allay hygiene fears and instil confidence because the kiosks can be fitted with a contactless payment peripheral that eliminates the need for users to pay with coins and notes, which are notorious for harbouring germs.
It is estimated that contactless card payments can be completed within 10 seconds and they work twice as fast as standard chip & pin transactions. With less processing and handling of cash occurring, contactless card transactions are completed at a faster rate, turnover is likely to improve and queues are less likely to build up- which is absolutely essential given the need to maintain social distancing.
Contactless payments aren’t restricted to just contactless card payments either. The NFC technology within contactless readers can interact with phones and connected accessories such as watches. The launch of Apple Pay for example has allowed users to carry out payments even if they have forgotten their card, or if it’s out of reach; by using their phone or watch to carry out the transaction customers no longer need to scramble around for their wallet, making the payment process even quicker and more efficient.
Additionally, as pin numbers are no longer needed and the transaction only needs a tap on a reader, this can also reduce the burden on staff in a number of business environments. If customers are able to make a contactless transaction through a payment kiosk for example, the number of staff behind tills can be reduced and employees can be reassigned to help improve other areas of customer service. Introducing SMART payment kiosks with incorporated contactless technology can also help ensure the safety of staff because it reduces the need for them to interact with customers.
Following the loss of revenue while closed during the pandemic, businesses will need to do everything they can to reduce costs in order to recover from the impact. Cash is notoriously expensive to manage but by turning to SMART kiosk machines with an integrated contactless payment peripheral this burden can be eliminated.
Facilitating contactless payments can also reduce the risk of theft and fraud, and, in some circumstances, it can even reduce receipt handling costs because for some contactless transactions a receipt only needs to be produced when a customer requests one, or for higher value payments.
Many studies have demonstrated that businesses that encourage and accept contactless payments tend to have much higher customer retention rates. Consumers show greater loyalty to companies who are progressive and forward thinking, and they also tend to spend more in comparison to other customers.
Before the pandemic the common perception was that the growth in contactless payments was more or less being fuelled by younger generations. However, with close to 10 million contactless payments made since the limit was increased to £45 it’s clear that demand for this technology is being led by a much broader range of age groups and demographics so it’s vital for businesses to cater to this trend.
As we adapt to a post-Covid-19 world, it’s clear that contactless payments offer a wide range of benefits, both from the point of view of businesses and customers.
For customers, not only is it the most hygienic payment option, but cashless technology also makes their experience quicker and easier. Meanwhile, for businesses, embracing contactless technology via SMART kiosk machines that enable these types of payments can reduce costs, increase operational efficiency and allay public safety concerns around hygiene.
For more information about SMART payment kiosks and contactless payment technology please get in touch with a member of the Cammax team today.