At the beginning of the pandemic, massive shifts and changes were needed for a multitude of industries and the way they operate. One of the industries that saw extensive change was the retail industry, especially when it came to finding solutions for safe and reliable methods of payment. 

The ability to be able to pay for goods and services without having to make physical contact was a high priority for retailers looking to keep staff and customers safe while conducting business. With how long the pandemic has lasted, are contactless payments the new normal for the retail industry?

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Contactless Payments: The New Normal 

The need to have alternative forms of payment that didn’t involve cashiers handling cards and cash was very important. In order to be able to make purchases, many customers learned how to use contactless payment methods because of the pandemic, learning just how easy and accessible it is.

Now that businesses have invested in technology required to be able to handle contactless payments, there’s no need to remove the technology once things have become safer. Not only has this new normal created new ways for people to make purchases, but it has made the transactional process much more efficient for everyone involved.

What Exactly Is Contactless Payment?

Contactless payment machines allow the consumer to make a purchase without having to physically hand over money or a card. These payment methods don’t require one to physically touch a card machine or type in any PINS or numbers. Essentially, one can pay for something at a physical store by either tapping a card or a piece of technology on a contactless payment reader.

Many financial institution smartphone apps allow you to pull up a digital card, while there are other smartphone apps that will store your payment methods as well. Digital wallets or apps can also be used from smartwatches and fitness trackers.

Why Contactless Payment Works For Businesses 

Contactless payment was one of the many ways retailers were able to pivot their practices to continue operations during the pandemic. With this much-needed shift, contactless forms of payment saw unprecedented increase in use. As many as 94% of retailer participants in a survey by the National Retail Federation and Forrester said they believe they’ll continue using contactless payment long after the pandemic has ended.

Contactless payment is also one way to save a lot of time during a transaction as it’s a quick payment method. In retail, time is golden, and any way that allows a process to be completed more efficiently without error is worth implementing. While any technology isn’t without its occasional hiccups, contactless payment is overall a very reliable transaction process.

How Contactless Payment Benefits Customers 

People are able to do so much with current technology, making it much easier to condense what one has to carry around when shopping. As of now, people can avoid having to carry around a wallet, as payment methods and membership cards all have smartphone apps. Even if people want to have one card on them just in case, it can still be used as a contactless payment method.

Out of a pool of shoppers surveyed, about 85% said that they would recommend using contactless payments while shopping. Part of this is attributed to how easy it is to utilize, even for people who aren’t technologically savvy.

Contactless payment is also a safe way to complete transactions. One doesn’t run the risk of losing their card when using their smartphone, and one can also add enhanced security features in the rare occasion they lose their phone. This also makes it easier to avoid having data stolen by people using skimming technology to steal financial information from cards.

Final Thoughts 

There’s no denying that contactless payments are going to become a permanent payment solution within the retail industry. With so many businesses having already implemented these payment methods, there’s no sense in eliminating them. Customers have had positive experiences with contactless payment, with many even choosing to only shop at retailers who offer this option.

While the pandemic did force a lot of change very quickly, some of the change was positive for business, and contactless payment is one such example of this. 

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