4 ways to offer contactless payments

How businesses can pivot quickly to touch-free amidst growing demand for faster, safer checkouts

With every surface a potential risk for coronavirus transmission, consumers are demanding safer ways to pay. Credit card giant Mastercard saw a 40% jump in contactless transactions in the first quarter of 2020, while Visa saw contactless usage grow 150% in the last year.

Although contactless payments have been available in the US since 2004, shoppers have been slow to use it. So slow that, when banks were mandated to issue EMV-compliant cards in 2016, they chose to save ~35 cents per card by sending out “single-interface” cards with no contactless antenna.

With customer demand driving accelerated adoption of touch-free payment experiences across industries, merchants must find the best way to deliver contactless quickly. Here are four ways your business can go touch-free.

graphs showing statistics for contactless payment usage

Contactless payments by the numbers

Contactless isn’t just a passing fad, it’s here to stay. Whether that’s true contactless via NFC-enabled cards or mobile wallets, or touch-free experiences like in-app purchasing and curbside pickup, shoppers aren’t going back to dip and PIN after enjoying speedier checkouts.

New findings from 451 Research show contactless is gaining traction with US shoppers:

  • 62% of cardholders with a contactless card are now using it for tap-to-pay purchases.
  • 46% of consumers agree that “skipping the line and paying directly with a sales assistant’s mobile payment terminal” would increase their likelihood of completing a purchase.
  • 42% of consumers agree that the ability to “order and pay for products/services via an in-store kiosk” would increase their likelihood of completing a purchase with a business.
  • 68% of consumers are interested in scanning and paying via a smartphone app before leaving a store.
Credit card used to make a purchase on a terminal

1. Contactless credit cards and mobile wallets

Contactless payments allow shoppers to make payments without inserting or swiping their card. It’s enabled by near field communications (NFC) technology in the point of sale (POS). As mentioned above, a small antenna and chip in the card transmits data securely.

Contactless cards aren’t the only way shoppers can tap-and-pay. Mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay™️, and Samsung Pay all use the standard NFC protocol. They are particularly useful for larger purchases and can be used to authorize amounts over the contactless limit (the amount a shopper can spend per transaction before needing to enter their PIN).

3 ways contactless NFC boosts the customer experience:

  • Helps shoppers feel safer with a touch-free checkout
  • Speeds up lines at registers and self-checkout kiosks
  • Makes it easier to clean card readers by limiting physical contact

Learn more about how the world pays in our series of Global Payment Guides.

Phone used to make a purchase on mobile POS

2. Mobile point of sale terminals (mPOS)

What is a brick and mortar store without a way to accept payments? Yet for most businesses, POS terminals (e.g. card readers) are something tethered to the wall. Customers don’t want to wait in long lines, which is why it’s critical to free up employees to accept payments anywhere.

Enter the mobile POS terminal — a handheld device that accepts all key payment methods and connects to your network securely. With today’s social distancing considerations, mPOS makes it easier to bring the checkout to your customers with contactless, QR codes, and more.

3 ways mPOS boosts the customer experience:

  • Lets you accept payments on the store floor, in line, or even curbside
  • Breaks up lines by getting customers through checkout faster
  • Helps your business maintain your state’s social distancing regulations

See how Adyen helped Casper build a dream pop-up business in this interview.

Mobile phone showing a checkout screen

3. In-app purchase, curbside pickup

Not every consumer is ready to dive right back into shopping in-store. While there are important steps you can take to help make people feel safe when they do, it’s crucial to have options when it comes to accepting contactless payments beyond your store — like in your app.

Just like other digital payment methods, you want to make sure your app’s checkout is optimized for frictionless buying. This includes incorporating things like pre-filled contact and delivery fields, loyalty accounts linked to specific credit or debit cards, and one-click payments.

3 ways in-app boosts the customer experience:

  • Makes ordering and paying ahead easy for curbside pickup or delivery
  • Helps businesses with reduced budgets get up and running with curbside
  • Removes barriers to purchase for customers on-the-go or sheltering in place

Discover five best practices for optimizing your mobile payments in our guide.

4. Pay by Link

If you’re strapped for time, budget, or both, Pay by Link is the fastest way to get up and running with a checkout. Instead of asking a customer to interact with a POS terminal or come to your store, you simply send them a link that takes them to a secure payment page.

This option allows you to expand to digital channels like email, chat, social media, and SMS, making it easy to let shoppers pay with their preferred payment method across devices. (Note: Pay by Link is an Adyen term and other payments providers may have different terminology.)

3 ways Pay by Link boosts the customer experience:

  • Lets you accept payments with a page that works across different devices
  • Allows you to start accepting payments without the need for a website or app
  • Use one payment link to accept multiple payments

Take a deeper dive into how luxury retailers are using Pay by Link to cater to VIPs here.

Next up: How to make contactless work for your business

Picking a payment method to help your business go touch-free is just the start. In our next article on contactless payments, we’ll dive into the nitty gritty of offering contactless payment methods for your customers — including important pitfalls to avoid.

Ready to reopen your doors?

Here are four areas to focus on to entice shoppers back in store.

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