What are the Pros and Cons of Contactless Payments for Businesses?

New payment systems have advanced to the point where businesses can offer quick contactless payments. And the data shows that contactless payments are here to stay. In fact, Australians have paved the way for the rest of the world in contactless payments.

Australians made 325 million contactless payments in 2017, which is a 26% increase from 2016. And contactless payments are currently the preferred payment method for 90% of purchases.

You may have heard about contactless payments but wondered if this trend is worth paying attention to and if it has clear benefits for your business. In this article, we will explain how contactless payments work and examine the pros and cons for businesses that are considering offering this service.

How to Use Contactless Payments: The Business Side of Things

Australians first began making contactless payments in 2006, though the technology had been around since the mid-90s. The concept is fairly simple: customers simply wave or tap their contactless device over a POS device to make a payment.

This is done using NFC (near field communication) technology, a radio-frequency that allows the card to communicate with the POS device wirelessly. It ensures quick and accurate payments and customers never have to swipe their card or enter a PIN number.

These types of payments, like payWave and PayPass, are designed for small purchases, like a coffee, groceries or a quick trip to the drugstore. It speeds up transactions in fast-paced environments where customers are more likely to be in a hurry.

In Australia, most contactless payments have a $100 limit. So your customers will have to enter their PIN for any transactions that exceed $100. But these limits are set by banks so the maximum amount can vary.

Customers can make contactless payments using credit cards, debit cards, or prepaid cards. However, the technology isn’t limited to cards only. Smartphones, mobile wallets, stickers, key fobs, and fitness trackers can all be used as contactless payment devices.

Advantages of Contactless Payments

Contactless payments provide an opportunity your business can’t afford to ignore. Businesses that fail to jump on board risk alienating their customers who want and expect tap-and-go payment systems. And in a business environment that is increasingly focused on the customer experience, avoiding this trend seems risky. Plus, contactless payments provide a number of advantages to both businesses and consumers.

Here are five top advantages to contactless payments:

Contactless payments remove friction

One of the biggest complaints about EMV chip technology is the additional time transactions take. Contactless payments remove friction and offer customers a better buying experience.

Contactless payments are faster than both cash and card transactions. You don’t have to watch customers dig through their wallets trying to find their debit card or wait for them to enter their PIN.

And you don’t have to count back change for customers, which also speeds up the process. Retailers can take this one step further by emailing customer receipts.

Faster transaction times may also result in your store needing fewer employees during peak business hours.

Increased customer satisfaction

Successful businesses know that they have to focus on the customer experience above all else. Contactless payments will help you do just that.

As waiting times decrease, customer satisfaction tends to increase. This makes them ideal for restaurants and bricks-and-mortar stores which tend to have longer customer wait times.

Plus, businesses that accept contactless payments are demonstrating that they value staying current with payment technology. Studies show that customers who have embraced contactless payment systems use them often. They also show greater loyalty toward businesses that accept them.

Improved loyalty programs

Customers want to join loyalty programs that offer them value and convenience. Contactless payments are a powerful marketing and loyalty platform.

Digital loyalty programs reward customers for making contactless payments. For instance, Starbucks has a loyalty program that rewards customers for making in-app payments.

Secure transactions and fewer fraud losses

With contactless payments, the card or device never leaves the customer’s hand. Plus the chip technology utilised in contactless payments is actually more secure than other forms of payments.

And fraud losses on contactless cards remain consistently low. In fact, 85 percent of credit card fraud now occurs online as in-person fraud becomes more difficult.

Most importantly, contactless payments are PCI compliant. So businesses can rest assured that they will avoid possible chargebacks and continue to maintain a positive reputation with customers.

No additional fees for retailers

Businesses that accept contactless payments won’t get stuck with any additional fees. You’ll pay the same fees that you would be required to pay for a regular credit card transaction. So your business won’t take a hit financially if you begin offering contactless payments.

What are the Disadvantages of Contactless Payments?

There are pros and cons to every business decision and contactless payments are no exception. Although the benefits appear to outweigh the concerns, there are some disadvantages to accepting contactless payments.

The biggest challenge for most businesses will be that inevitably, you’ll have to deal with customer concerns about security and fraud. Australians have largely embraced contactless payment systems but there will always be some holdouts.

Studies have shown that millennials have largely embraced contactless payments. But older generations are usually less accustomed to newer technology trends. Only about a quarter of adults over the age of 35 have started using contactless payments, though this will probably change in the future.

Overall, you should expect some pushback from some customers. Also be prepared to educate your staff and your customers about how the data is being used.

How Businesses can Prepare for the Wave of Tap-and-Go Payments

Given the increasing adoption of contactless payments, businesses should begin to prepare to adopt this technology. By incorporating contactless payment systems, you’re investing in the future of your business and meeting the needs of your customers.

Here are a few steps you can take to begin accepting contactless payment systems:

  • Review your current sales traffic and decide whether contactless payments are the right fit for you.
  • Look for ways to make this shift as seamless as possible.
  • Train your employees on how to use contactless payment processors.
  • Find out if your payment provider accepts contactless payments and supports the most recent NFC specifications.

And of course, the best way Australian businesses can prepare is by partnering with a payment provider like Bambora. Bambora makes it easy to accept payments online, in-app, or within a platform.

We provide tailored payment solutions to meet your business’s needs. To find out more about what we offer and what payment solutions might be best for your business, contact us for more information.

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About the author: Victoria Galloway is Bambora APAC's Technical Copywriter, and has been writing and producing in the payments and eCommerce space for a number of years in the UK and Australia

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