When we talk about electronic (or “in-store”) payment here at CCV, we’re referring to payments in brick-and-mortar stores, restaurants, cafés, or other in-person physical locations. These are typically made using credit and debit cards, digital (mobile) wallets, wearable devices, or QR codes.
And with a number of cultural, societal, and technological trends intersecting, we’re now seeing the demand for electronic payments and cashless commerce skyrocket.
While chip & PIN remains a popular method, the widespread availability of smartphone devices and the growing acceptance of contactless cards – and with the COVID-19 pandemic – has made consumers re-evaluate how they prefer to make payments.
So, what are the advantages of accepting electronic payments? Let’s explore how it benefits you and your customers.
Paying via card, contactless, mobile wallet, or wearable device is almost always faster than using cash.
Valuable time is saved as customers simply swipe or tap to pay. No more digging through wallets or purses looking for coins – and you don’t need to painstakingly count out the correct change when someone pays for a low-value item with a €50 note.
By processing payments faster, you can keep queues shorter. And with shorter queues, you’ll need less staff to manage your store at peak times. You may even consider redeploying staff into different customer-facing roles to improve service and keep your store in tip-top shape.
You’ll soon discover that your need to handle cash (and the costs and security concerns associated) is greatly reduced when you start accepting electronic payments. With less processing and cash handling, transactions can be completed quickly, and this could have a positive impact on turnover.
With less cash in and around your business, the risk of robbery, costly human error, and/or fraud decreases. You also don’t need to worry about transporting large sums of money to deposit at the bank.
Multiple studies have shown that consumers tend to spend more when using electronic methods of payment compared to when they’re paying with cash.
By accepting fewer cash payments – or by going completely cashless – you’ll have an easier time with administration, accounting, and auditing. There’s less (or no) cash to track or bank; instead, every transaction is recorded digitally on your platform of choice.
When you process an electronic transaction and it’s approved by your terminal, you know with certainty that the payment will show in your business account very soon. There’s no time-consuming extra step required, unlike with cash, which requires you to transport it and deposit it at the bank.
While the above applies to electronic payments in general, there are some very specific benefits you’ll notice when you start accepting contactless electronic payments:
Aside from the Amazon Go model, where customers walk out of a store and get billed automatically (an unrealistic prospect for SMEs in the short-term), contactless payment is currently the fastest available method. It helps you receive payments quickly, and keep queues short and customers happy.
When your customer pays with contactless, the card or smart device doesn’t leave their hand. This minimises the risk of fraud or user error on the part of your staff. And the technology used for contactless is also more secure than other forms of payment.
With modern payment apps, the need for paper receipts can be minimised or removed entirely. Instead of issuing a traditional receipt, you can send your customers a digital equivalent, saving you money on paper, ink, and printers — and boosting your green credentials in the process.
You don’t have to worry about any additional fees when you start accepting contactless payments if you already accept chip and PIN. You’ll simply pay the same as you would for regular card transactions. There are plenty of packages out there to cater for businesses of all sizes, budgets, and transaction volumes.
Governments across Europe are encouraging their citizens to use contactless in the face of COVID-19. To that end, consumers will soon come to expect contactless payment as the norm. If your business offers it and your competition doesn’t, it could be another vital point of difference.
It’s not just you who’ll benefit from implementing electronic payments. Your customers will, too:
As we’ve discovered, electronic transactions are faster, more secure, and effortless, and this means there’s less friction in the sales experience.
Your customers won’t be deterred by long queues or held back by the amount of money they have on their person. Instead, their electronic payment method of choice helps them get exactly what they want, quickly and without restrictions.
Consumers don’t need to carry large amounts of cash around with them. This makes them feel safer and more confident shoppers, knowing that the impact of theft or loss can be offset by quickly blocking their cards or mobile wallet.
Meanwhile, the advantages of contactless payment, in particular, for the customer include:
Research by Barclaycard found that tap & go contactless payments are, on average, 7 seconds faster than Chip & PIN, and 15 seconds faster than cash – and this is a major plus point for your customers.
As we alluded to earlier, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought contactless payment into sharp focus as a means of minimising contact and the spread of the virus. Using contactless, consumers don’t need to touch PIN pads or swap physical cash, making it a more hygienic and health-conscious payment method.
By ensuring your checkout process is fast and smooth, you can spend more time improving the experience for your customers. And if you keep them happy and engaged, they’re more likely to return.
Electronic payments (and the benefits they deliver) are only one facet of a successful payment infrastructure. If you’d like to learn more, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to payment, covering the best online and offline methods, region-specific stats, and everything you need to know when selecting a payment solution for your business.