Today’s small businesses must contend with more variables and unpredictable events than at any time in the past. With safety concerns and the desire for convenience on the rise throughout the country, businesses just like yours may have made the intelligent choice to embrace digital and even contactless payment solutions. Whether you have not yet adopted these strategies or have already done so and need some validation, take a few minutes to consider how this way of processing payments is not just a vital business tool now, but will even remain so post-pandemic.
Today’s consumers are hyper-aware of how germs and viruses can spread. Thanks to what doctors and scientists are learning due to the pandemic, they know that close proximity to others (as well as touching contaminated cash and payment processing equipment) can mean the difference between good health and serious illness. It is therefore no wonder that shoppers are putting aside their hesitancy and comfort with the old way of doing things and are choosing instead to patronize businesses where digital and even contactless payment choices are available.
Digital payments are more protected than ever before against hacking and identity theft. Whereas old-school magnetic stripe cards could be quickly cloned; the information they contained used to make in-store and online purchases, today’s EMV chip-enabled cards encrypt all transactions. Moreover, customers’ sensitive information is not available for all to see and steal. From the merchant’s perspective, by accepting EMV chip cards, they’re not held liable in the rare cases that identity theft or other types of fraud occur.
Payments can also be made via digital wallets that are built into applications on smartphones, tablets, and wearable watches/fitness devices. If you’ve invested in contactless payment solutions for your business, you already know how easy “tap-and-go” payments are. However, what is less visible is the high level of security they provide. Each time a customer purchases an item using their smart device, a unique token that represents their stored digital credit card information is created and shared among the various players involved in the process. Because the token is single-use, any replication by hackers is totally ineffectual.
Although your foot or web traffic may have slowed in recent months due to economic conditions, as well as the pandemic-related changes in consumer shopping behaviors, you have still likely seen how digital payments have helped your retail business to function more smoothly. For one thing, digital credit card and contactless wallet payments are completed more quickly, as customers are not digging through their billfolds or scrambling for cash. With this added speed comes checkout lines that move faster, leading to both happy customers, and more efficient employees who can make better use of their time. That translates into more cash in your books at the end of the day.
When buyers pay using plastic, or with their smartphones or other devices, there is a layer of separation between them and their money. The feeling of spending dollars with plastic or by waving a phone next to a near-field communications-equipped reader is much different from the tangible loss a person feels when they hand over actual bills and coins to a merchant.
With this slight disconnection between people and their money comes an advantage for businesses. When consumers know that they will have more time to pay for their purchases, they tend to spend more. For businesses such as yours, particularly in these difficult times when every penny is precious, you cannot afford to leave this advantage on the table.
At this point, many small retailers have already given up cash as their main payment source, upgraded their systems, and taken the plunge to not only take credit and debit cards, but also to process contactless payments. Even after the economy has rebounded and the pandemic is relegated to a dark page in our history books, it seems almost certain that electronic and contactless payments will remain fixtures for all consumers. If you have already joined the digital revolution, congratulations. If you are on the fence, consider all of the advantages that embracing digital payments and the business management technology that accompanies them will bring to you and to your loyal customers. Once you do, we think you’ll agree it’s a win-win proposition for everyone involved.