By: Julie Pukas
Data from the U.S. Department of Commerce indicate that consumer confidence is increasing, meaning busy times are ahead for retailers and small businesses as customers increasingly flex their buying power. Though this can be a boon for business, it can also be a strain on employees struggling to manage higher transaction volumes. For example, ahead of the most recent holiday season, more than one-third (38%) of merchants did not feel their payments system was capable of maximizing increased business and customer traffic during the holiday rush, according to a recent survey conducted at the NY Business Expo.
That said, many businesses have solutions at their fingertips that can drastically reduce transaction times and get customers through check-out lines quicker. Contactless payments are on the rise this year with major transportation systems like the New York MTA and Philadelphia SEPTA beginning to roll out the technology and several financial institutions announcing they will issue EMV contactless chip cards in hopes of improving speed and convenience for consumers.
The survey also found that despite recognizing there are benefits to tap-and-go payments, most merchants aren’t yet offering it to their customers. In fact, 51% of respondents listed increased transaction speed as a key advantage of contactless payments, but only 19% offered the option, even though it’s been shown to expedite check out times by up to 37 seconds. Think of it this way: If a local farmer’s market stand processes 100 payments on a Saturday, switching to contactless could save more than an hour in transaction time, freeing up employees to spend more time on the things that matter most!
Respondents also thought increased security and mobile phone compatibility were key features of contactless payments, with 24% and 9% choosing each answer, respectively.
However, the data shows that merchants are warming up to the idea. The survey found 41% of businesses plan to accept contactless payments within the next three years, showing a growing interest in the technology – but is this soon enough? Those who don’t consider this new technology, such as the 19% who don’t ever plan to accept contactless payments, could be missing out on giving their business a boost. Time is money, and those who implement contactless payments are saving both while improving security and the overall customer experience.
Working with a merchant solutions provider can help merchants determine how best to implement this technology into their businesses. More than half (58%) of businesses surveyed partner with banks for their point of sale systems, which can provide a one-stop shop for multiple business financing and payments needs and help merchants keep up with the latest technology, like contactless payments, to maximize their efficiency and evolve with customer preferences.