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Why your business needs to accelerate digital payments in the COVID-19 age

For a while, the concept of frictionless mobile payment – under which services like Apple Pay and Google Pay were categorised – seemed like a solution looking for a problem. However, in a sense, that problem might finally have arrived, as many more people are now keen to make their payments in a contactless fashion. 

For businesses, what is especially appealing about accepting Apple Pay or Google Pay is that they work both in brick-and-mortar stores and on ecommerce sites – with timely benefits in both instances.

Why contactless payment isn’t just a “make-do” option  

Of course, both in the previous spring lockdown and the current one, your business could already have relied heavily on online payments – especially if your business was classed as “non-essential” and so forced to close. However, even in traditional stores still open, contactless payments are often favoured.

In just the first quarter of 2020, as the COVID crisis initially emerged, Mastercard saw a significant 40% growth in contactless transactions. “It is interesting to see how necessity drives adoption of new technologies and how things that were expected to take years were compressed within a matter of months,” Mastercard CEO Michael Miebach recently told WIRED.

We can expect those habits to stick, too – potentially even long after the pandemic. Miebach has pointed out that, after the London Underground started accepting contactless card payments, contactless transactions increased in coffee shops near Tube stations. He attributed this trend to “muscle memory”.

Now, shoppers out and about don’t even need a card

While it’s certainly appealing to many people that they can currently pay for goods without their payment card ever touching a cashier’s hands or even their card reader, we are now in an age where the card itself isn’t strictly necessary, either – thanks to contactless payment services being baked into our phones.

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently alluded to how pandemic-related concerns have sparked accelerated uptake of Apple Pay, where iPhone users can pay by simply placing their handset near a contactless card reader and authenticating the payment with the iPhone’s biometric recognition technology.

During Apple’s last earnings call, Cook explained, as quoted by MacRumors: “As you can imagine in this environment, people are less wont to hand over a card. Contactless payment has taken on a different level of adoption and I don’t think we’ll go back.”

Imaginative possibilities for integrating digital payments abound

While you could build Apple Pay or Google Pay support into your website’s checkout with just some code, the range of digital payment solutions available has proliferated to such an extent that, now, you can give your customers various easy means of paying that can help to minimise the risk of COVID-19 infection.

“If a WeChat user visits Oxford Street and wants to pay with that particular technology, then we’ll enable that,” Miebach says about messaging app payments. Those could work especially well with a good social media marketing strategy our team can put together for you – and don’t forget our expertise in building online storefronts for our clients.

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