The world of payments is changing at a breakneck pace. Although an entirely cashless world is still a way off, non-cash payments are increasingly becoming the norm—both for consumer transactions such as grocery shopping and rent payment. And also, businesses are seeking to provide more flexible alternatives to their customers, suppliers, and staff.
The global marketplace today is fiercely competitive. Price, innovation, technology, and speed to market are all factors that companies compete on. Companies differentiate themselves by substituting more flexible digital payment choices like Apple Pay, Zelle, and eWallet for obsolete payment methods like paper cheques. Customers and vendors are being asked, “How would you want to pay me?” and “How would you like to be paid?” by businesses. While many firms accept and celebrate the change with open arms, others continue to do business using paper and manual money transactions.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, many retail businesses have become totally cash-free. If your business has not yet made the leap then it is time to do your homework and learn more about the benefits of digital payments. According to sumup.ie the benefits of cashless payments include:
- Accounting which is instantly up-to-date
- Convenience for customers – which means more sales for you
- Safety for your business – cashless payments reduce the risk of fraud, staff theft and robbery.
- Hygiene – tapping a card requires no skin contact and is a lot more hygienic than dirty cash!
So, let’s look at a few of the different methods of accepting cashless payments in your retail outlet.
How to improve payment methods in stores
Card payments by using card reader machines
We are all familiar with card payments. This can be either debit or credit card or with a pre-paid card. Payment is made either by inserting the card into the payment machine and typing in the pin number, or by contactless means. With contactless payments recently being increased to a maximum value of £100 in the UK, the proportion of contactless payments has increased significantly. Over 91% of payments are now made via contactless technology.
Card payments, in most situations, are transferred swiftly into your business bank account, maximising cash flow. However, for small business owners, this form of payment option comes with a cost. There are a wide variety of systems available though, so if you are introducing card payments, be sure to shop around. Systems range from dedicated machines, to apps where you can take card payments on your smartphone. Sumup are one of the leaders in the field, offering a range of options and transaction fees depending on your needs.
Adaptation of Online Payment
Electronic payments get done using the internet. They employ a payment gateway to process and authorize eChecks, credit cards, and direct debit payments. Online transactions aren’t just for online merchants. Digital wallets or apps that save credit and debit card information on a mobile device can make online transactions in physical stores. In terms of cost and convenience, online payments appear to be the way of the future. They provide a less expensive and speedier method of payment, as well as options for customers when they check out.
Mobile payments can include various payment methods, such as payments made using a mobile card reader to swipe debit or credit cards and transactions made with a digital wallet app and near-field communication technology.
Just walk out
For most businesses, this is a very long way off, but worth knowing about. Amazon has introduced 25 grocery stores with what is called ‘just walk out‘ technology. Those stores have no cashiers or tills, you just take items and walk out. You do need to install the associated app and swipe it as you enter. Your charges are automatically applied to the app. The technology is believed to use a combination of sensors and camera tracking.