Consumers are rapidly changing their shopping patterns to stay as safe as possible during the coronavirus outbreak, and one way they’ve done so is through the use of contactless payment methods. In fact, Mastercard reported a 40% jump in contactless transactions during the first quarter of 2020! This new payment preference has been spurred on by recent recommendations from leading organizations like the World Health Organization as well as local governments like the State of New Jersey that have signed executive orders mandating that businesses arrange for contactless payments when possible.
New Concerns About Using Cash
Although the actual risk for catching the coronavirus from bills or coins is pretty low, consumers are increasingly choosing to use payment options that carry no risk whatsoever. As this cash stigma develops, many places across the world have implemented a no-cash policy. The Louvre in Paris and the Versailles Palace on the outskirts of Paris, for example, have both moved to card-only payments.
Contactless Payments Were Already On the Rise
Even before the coronavirus pandemic started, contactless payments were slowly picking up steam here in the U.S. In New York, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) created its OMNY system (which stands for One Metro New York) in May 2019 to start using contactless payments at turnstiles and on buses. And, Mastercard increased credit limits on contactless payments this past March, before the widespread threat of COVID-19 became completely apparent.
Contactless Payments From Your Smartphone
While contactless-enabled cards are quite similar to traditional EMV chip cards or magstripe cards, contactless mobile wallets offer customers a wider array of additional benefits right from their phones (or smartwatches). This includes the ability to view payment history, deactivate the card, enjoy rewards and promotions, securely store gift cards, and benefit from biometric security.
QR codes have also seen a surge of interest. With this payment option, customers use their phones to scan a printed QR code to access the merchant’s mobile-friendly checkout page. This enables the customer to make the payment easily and without physical contact.
Are Contactless Payments Secure?
Contactless payments are more secure than magstripe cards, as skimming is virtually impossible. And, when utilized from a mobile phone, contactless credit and debit cards offer the benefits of encryption and a password-protected lock screen. Another factor to consider is that it’s much less likely that a contactless payment method would be stolen, since the card, phone, or watch never leaves the customers’ hand.
Is It Difficult To Set Up Your Business to Support Contactless Payments?
Fortunately, upgrading your payment processing system to support contactless payments is often quite easy, especially if you are already EMV-ready. And, it’s important to keep in mind that as contactless payment methods quickly become mainstream, it’s likely that this preference will remain even after the COVID-19 pandemic passes.
Contact us today if you’re ready to start accepting contactless payments in your store. We support a wide range of contactless-enabled terminals from leading brands like PAX, Verifone, Ingenico, Vital, and more.