Keep your distance There has been a mantra for 2020. To limit the spread of COVID-19, people are repeatedly reminded that they won’t get too close to others, but it’s hard to stay away when you need to hand over cash or cards for payment. Fortunately, technology exists for contactless payments, and businesses are embracing this option this year.
“We’ve been doing this for seven years, and the incoming chart has closed in the last six months,” says Ralph Dangelmayer, CEO of Bluespnap, a company that offers contactless payment solutions.
While not all retailers and businesses are set up for all contactless payment methods, here are seven options that can be used in various industries.
- Buy online
- Use the chat app.
- Further order
- Tap to pay.
- Scan a QR Code.
- Pay by link
- Sign home loan.
online shopping One of the most familiar and accessible ways to pay is without any contact. Big retailers such as Amazon have made it mainstream to buy everything online from groceries to electronics and shop at your doorstep. However, in the face of the epidemic, even small, local retailers have started online inventory and are ready to ship goods to shoppers.
Use chat app
Traditional e-commerce asks customers to enter payment and shipment information on a business website. Chat commerce, also known as conversational commerce, simplifies that process by facilitating payments to businesses using mobile applications such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
“You already have a chat app on your phone,” says Peter de Villiers, CEO of Clickatell, a global technology company that provides chat commerce solutions. Businesses set up for commercial commerce can process orders and even take payments while chatting with customers in the app. It is a convenient and safe way to shop, according to De Villiers, who states, “Cash in the pocket is far more risky than cash in a digital wallet.”
Customers can use contactless payments at many establishments, even if they need to pick up an item in person. National brands, such as McDonald’s, have rolled out apps that allow people to order and pay without contacting an employee. Then, can be collected through purchase Curbside pick-up To eliminate the need to go inside a restaurant or store.
In some areas, local shops have followed suit. While they may not have apps, these businesses will take orders over the phone and offer curbside or walk-in options to pick up items.
Paying over the phone or internet is not an option, Tap to pay Payment can eliminate the need to touch the terminal. This payment option requires that a retailer have a sales terminal equipped with near-field communications, or NFC, technology, and in which the customer is compatible Credit Card, Smartphone or smartwatch. Then, the customer taps on the terminal with their device or card to complete the payment.
The information sent by the card is encrypted and token to keep the data secure. This makes these transactions as safe as swiping or inserting the card into the terminal.
Scan a QR code
De Villiers states that the use of QR codes is common in Asia, but American businesses are warming up to practice only. Retailers and restaurants using this method provide a QR code – also known as a quick response code – to scan customers for using their smartphones. Payment information can be added over the phone or confirmed, so no cash or card is required to change hands.
Pay by link
Like the QR code, paying with links sent via email or text is still in the early stages of adoption, but Dangelmeyer thinks it will eventually catch up with both businesses and customers. “I think it’s a real emerging trend,” he says.
This can be especially useful for in-home service providers, such as plumbers and electricians. Sending links to customers for payment can streamline the process and reduce the time of an in-house technician. “We think that’s the easy way to do it,” notes Dungelmayer.
Sign for home loan
Even large purchases can be made virtually contactless, such as thanks to electronic signature services DocuSign. “A customer can eventually (buy a vehicle) without going to the dealership,” says Jonathan Chariff, CEO and president of South Motors, which operates the dealership in South Florida.
“Our goal and the industry’s goal is to provide more and more information online,” Charif says. Once someone has a vehicle, a sales representative can distribute it for a test drive. Then, the buyer can complete the paperwork online at home. To comply with banking requirements, a representative may have to briefly meet with a buyer close to the sale, but this can also be done in a person’s home. This year, says Charif, the ability to buy vehicles with minimal connectivity has advanced significantly, and he expects that to continue to grow in the coming months as well.
The same can be said for contactless payments. To meet the demand for smooth and seamless transactions, new technologies may be more widespread. For example, de Villiers sees some businesses in Denmark using Bluetooth low energy or BLE, technology that does not even require customers to remove their phones from their pocket to pay.
Contactless payments will be popular once the coronavirus epidemic has become a thing of the past. According to Dangelmeier, “I think once people get a handle on contactless payments, (they) don’t want to go back.”