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How businesses can prepare for a contactless future with digital payment methods

SOURCE: NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP
By using digital payment methods, business will be able to find a balance between safety and opportunity.


By U2B Staff 

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In 2020, COVID-19 transformed many aspects of life, the way we transact being one of them. Health is the main concern, along with safety and hygiene which is why many brick-and-mortar businesses have had to transition to an online operating model to continue operations by utilising contactless payment methods.

While the World Health Organisation has never advised against using cash, more and more businesses are displaying signs that read “contactless payment only” close to their registers or at their entrances. Perhaps out of precaution as the WHO has also stated, “hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose, or mouth.” In the midst of a pandemic, contactless payment is a potentially life-saving technology.

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As the world becomes increasingly cashless, physical establishments are seeking to minimise the use of cash during face-to-face transactions. For years, people all over the world have become accustomed to paying with their credit cards and in more and more countries such as Australia, Canada, Sweden, South Korea, and China it is becoming rare to see cash being used. 

According to UK Finance, one in 10 people in the UK have now gone cashless. The figures rise to one in six (17%) in the 25-34 age range. A global poll conducted by MasterCard, a company with reason to favour card-based payments, found that 82% of its users see contactless payments as cleaner than cash.

Online shopping has been booming too with Amazon’s value alone rising by US$570 billion in 2020. For many people, the increase of digitisation is synonymous with progress and seen as a way to move forward with convenience. 

The pandemic can be viewed as an opportunity for businesses to learn the benefits and make a quicker transition to ensure they do not fall behind. The beginning stages of change may not be smooth, but resilience and adaptability are essential for businesses to join a cashless society and survive amidst uncertainty. 

What exactly is a cashless society? A cashless society is one where financial transitions are facilitated digitally instead of through physical currency. Here, cash is replaced by a digital equivalent such as credit and debit cards, internet banking, mobile wallets, payment apps, cashless point of sale (POS) systems, and other digital payment methods.

What are the pros of utilising digital payment methods? It saves time, especially for merchants who race from task to task. Cash transactions are significantly slower, and going cashless eliminates the time spent replenishing cash flow, tallying totals, and reconciling amounts to ensure the proper change was given. 

Digital payment methods can also increase sales, by keeping lines moving during rush hour, processing customers in shorter amounts of time. Employees also benefit greatly as their work becomes simplified. These transactions also encourage higher spending and deter theft. Here are some tips that will ensure you are tracking when transitioning your business to one that utilises digital payment methods:

Set up an e-commerce platform

Brick-and-mortar businesses are, without a doubt, the most vulnerable group since much of their income relies heavily on in-store purchases. For business owners looking to set up shop online, it is important that you invest in a functional and secure e-commerce website using Shopify or WordPress, giving your audience an alternative way to shop for your items.

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Provide contactless payment methods

Many people believe that hard currency in circulation could spread COVID-19, with this in mind customers need peace of mind which can be provided to them by offering convenient payment options that provide less exposure to physical contact. Aside from credit cards and e-wallets, you can also provide customers with the option to pay via QR code. There are other contactless options to consider, but it’s often best to diversify your payment methods to the benefit and safety of your customers.

Use a digital business account for managing your finances

Using a digital business account for rent and other essential services to keep your business afloat would be ideal for this situation. It lets you process transactions remotely and track expenses, giving you better control of your business’ finances. More importantly, it saves time and provides a safer alternative to bank visits and withdrawals at the ATM. Simply select a mobile bank that provides cost-saving contactless banking solutions.

Invest in your own delivery fleet

For small, growing businesses in the food industry, orders should be delivered directly to customers who do not find it necessary to step out for a meal. Link your menus with services like GrubHub and UberEats, and consider managing your own delivery fleet to avoid bearing any extra costs.