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No Touching: Contact Free Payment Options

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The Importance of Contact Free

The use of cash has sharply declined in recent years. Since Covid-19 crisis started, we’ve seen a lot of shops stop taking cash, to minimise the risk of spreading infection, and embedding further the behaviour of consumers to Contactless payments.  Visa and Mastercard have recently increased the Contactless payments from £30 to £45, thereby reducing the number of instances customers have to handle a terminal to authorise payment.

Plus, there is a strong drive towards online ordering of food, groceries, and digital services as people go into lockdown. 

The behaviour around not using cash to pay for your day-to-day is being reinforced.  So, when shops finally re-open, it is likely that this trend towards contact free payments – cashless and Contactless will continue.

We have set out below some practical considerations on contact free payments, both for face to face businesses, for online and for how to future proof your business for these behavioural changes

Face to Face Businesses 

Go Contactless

If you’re still taking cash, you may want to consider getting a terminal instead.  With Contactless payments now authorised to £45, it offers a fast and safe way of transacting.  Post-Covid-19 crisis, it’s likely customers will simply expect businesses to offer a “contact free” solution to payments.  Businesses who take cash may be seen at a disadvantage. You can also accept high value contactless payments made with digital wallets on smartphones; such as Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay. Because the shopper has to authenticate themselves with their fingerprint or a PIN code on their mobile phone.

Keep terminals clean

It is not yet fully understood what role indirect contact plays in the spread of the virus, however it is known to survive on certain surfaces for several days. Since transactions requiring the entry of a PIN mean the customer will need to touch the terminal, make sure that it is cleaned and disinfected between uses, and that customers are aware that you are doing so. This should apply even if the customer is wearing gloves.

Other "Contact Free" Payment Methods

There are a number of secure, cost effective and easy-to-use options for businesses looking quickly to establish an online or e-commerce channel. In all cases it is important to ensure that the chosen solution is fully PCI compliant.
 
Some of the available options are as follows:

 

Ease of use

Speed of access / set up

Security

Invoice payment

Extremely simple to use. The merchant sets out a summary of what is owed and when payment is expected

Quick and simple to set using Elavon Financial Services DAC online accounting software.

Highly – however an invoice payment press de-couples the supply of the goods or service from the payment, and relies on the customer’s willingness and ability to pay.

 

Pay by link

Extremely simple. Merchant creates a Pay by Link URL which is sent to the customer via email, SMS, social channels, or read out over phone.

Very quick – install, open, populate with account details readily available in MySagePay back office. Customer needs an e-commerce account, and access to MySagePay.

 

High – secure e-commerce hosted solution.

MOTO via Virtual Terminal

Extremely simple. The terminal is a page within the MSP back office. Populate it with customer’s personal and card data and process then and there.

 

Very quick – requires no integration. Once Merchant ID is processed, receive the URL and credentials. Then log in and start accepting payments.

High – This is a hosted virtual terminal.  Several payment providers have something similar, including Opayo. However merchants must be disciplined and enter card data directly into the terminal and keeping no record of it elsewhere

P2P payments – internet banking / mobile banking

Not offered by Opayo.
Shopper must have easy access to banking app or desktop portal.

Easy to set up with clear instructions provided.

Funds can be misdirected due to human error (mis-keyed account or sort code) which can cause difficulties. There are no scheme chargeback or refund rights for shoppers, and it can be difficult for merchants to handle full or partial refunds.

 

Conclusion

The market is well-supplied with reliable and secure payment methods to support on-line and e-commerce activity, and it will depend on the specific needs of your business. In most cases they are quick and easy to set up. It is worth considering if you are likely to be processing a small number of large transactions or vice versa, since this is likely to affect the overall cost of operating your payment platform.