Cash is king, but it certainly isn’t clean (and neither are credit cards, debit cards, checks, or any other physical forms of payment). People have always known this, but until recently there was not a demand for alternative payments that eliminated physical contact between customers and staff. Of course, with COVID-19 still affecting how people work, live, and shop, retailers quickly need to adapt in order to provide a safe and secure checkout experience for guests and employees alike. The solution: contactless payments.

As the name implies, contactless payments allow customers to complete their checkout without needing to touch a pin pad, hand their card to a cashier, or otherwise make contact with anyone.

There are two primary forms of contactless payments: enabled cards and mobile wallets. Contactless-enabled credit and debit cards make use of near field communication and radiofrequency to transmit payment information from an embedded antenna to a POS system or payment terminal. Mobile wallets, such as Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay also work on all NFC contactless readers. NFC transactions take place over a specific radio frequency that enables the debit card, credit card, or smartphone to “communicate” with the payment reader at very close distances.

Benefits of Contactless Payments

Until recently, the adoption of contactless payment systems was something that most retailers probably didn’t give much consideration to — but in the wake of COVID-19, it has become increasingly important for businesses to add contact-free payment capabilities.

One of the primary benefits of contactless payment systems, especially in today’s “socially distant” world, is the ability to process transactions without needing to exchange debit cards, credit cards, or other physical payment forms. Tap-and-go technology helps protect customers and employees by minimizing the spread of germs, bacteria, viruses, and other substances that may be present on debit or credit cards. Contact-free payment terminals prevent unnecessary or unwanted physical contact between guests and employees at a time when safety and social distancing are paramount.

Of course, contactless payment processing technology offers many other benefits for retailers, including:

  • Expanded payment acceptance – The contactless POS add-ons and equipment of today are designed to process debit, credit cards, mobile payments, digital wallets, and other forms of payment, which may greatly increase the number of payments you already accept with your current POS system.
  • Fast, easy, and secure checkout experience – Tap-and-go and near field processing delivers on consumer expectations of ease, convenience, and seamlessness. Contactless payments offer a fast, easy, and secure checkout experience that will delight your customers.
  • Scalable payment solutions – These systems are easily scalable as new payment methods are developed or adapted for contactless payments. Adopting a contact-free POS system or payment capture device now will allow you to stay up-to-date with the latest payment technology so you never have to say, “not accepted here.”

Contactless Payment Consumer Experience Best Practices

Although contactless payments are not new, consumers may not be aware that this transaction method is available to them. Fortunately, the U.S. Payments Forum has written a white paper describing best practices for implementing contactless payments at the POS to help deliver fully on the benefits of contactless to consumers and retailers alike. Some of the topics covered in this white paper include:

  • How to ensure customers know contactless payments are accepted and how to train cashiers to properly execute a contactless transaction
  • Best practices for the consumer transaction flow (your merchant processor or contactless payment system provider should be able to answer specific questions about implementing contactless in your particular retail environment, be it retail, restaurant, or anything else)
  • How to overcome common technical challenges that you may experience (again, your processor or contactless payment solution provider will be able to help you troubleshoot any specific problems you may encounter with a particular contactless POS system or terminal)

Virtual Terminals and Remote Deposit Capture

Although unrelated to contactless payment systems in terms of technology, virtual terminals are similar to contactless payment systems in that they reduce unnecessary and potentially unsafe physical exchanges of payment forms. Virtual terminals allow you to process payments as soon as you get authorization from the customer, which eliminates the need for paper checks. Virtual terminal solutions can also be set up to accept automated clearing house (ACH) payments, which certain retailers may use to arrange payment plans or collect monthly payments from customers without needing to process (i.e., handle) a credit card, debit card, or check each month.

Remote deposit capture (RDC) is also worth mentioning as another solution to keep employees safe. RDC allows you to use your computer, tablet, or smartphone to conveniently deposit checks 24 hours a day. Not only does this accelerate funding and improve cash flow, but it also minimizes trips to the bank so you or your staff can avoid unnecessary interactions that may expose you to COVID-19. Another benefit of RDC is that is stores checks in a secure paperless format that is easy to access online for expedited reporting capabilities.

Innovative and Adaptable Payment Processing Solutions to Meet Your Needs

If you are interested in learning more about adopting contactless payment technology in your store, Core Financial Processing can help. As your trusted merchant services provider, we help you with the products and solutions you need to accept all forms of electronic customer payments, including NFC-enabled cards and mobile wallets.

Core Financial Processing is committed to providing innovative and affordable payment processing solutions that help you stay competitive, save money, and eliminate the headaches and hassles traditionally associated with payment processing. Get in touch with us today and learn how quickly we can set you up with a contactless payment system, virtual terminal, remote deposit capture, or any other payment processing solution you need.