How many of you think about sterilizing your credit cards?
That would have been a weird question to ask a month ago. After all, you protect them from theft. You likely have credit fraud monitoring services. But, sterilize them? Not a preventative measure that likely crossed your mind as you went about your weekly grocery shopping, bought popcorn at the movies, or grabbed your prescription at the pharmacy.
A lot has changed in a month. We’re now more aware then ever of the number of touchpoints we come across all day long.
As COVID-19 has made its way across the globe, people’s daily routines have been upended. With the implementation of social distancing, businesses asking their employees to stay home, and people self-quarantining to reduce their risk of exposure, there’s been a spike in how consumers are buying and consuming all they need to keep themselves going through a global pandemic.
Naturally, there’s been a spike in online shopping as people scramble to get necessities, which apparently in some instances, is a year’s worth of toilet paper and rubbing alcohol.
What other areas will see more card-not-present (CNP) and digital wallet payments? Newspapers and digital media will definitely see a rise in readership and subscriptions as people hit their paywalls. As more and more people return to established publications to get the most up-to-date and accurate information, they’re greeted with some very clear messages: if you’re looking for COVID-19 information, we’ve lowered our paywall and while you’re here, consider a digital subscription and support journalism. It’s a compelling case to whip out your newly cleaned credit card and subscribe.
Some companies that have always taken CNP payments are likely to see more sign-ups and therefore more transactions. These include service delivery companies that cater to food (Home Fresh, Fresh Direct, Peapod), personal care (Dollar Shave Club), pet care (Chewy.com, Barkbox), medication delivery (CVS, Walgreens), and so on.
With colleges and schools closing and more and more states implementing restrictions on public gatherings, streaming services will be essential distractions. Hulu, Disney, Netflix, YouTube, Amazon and Apple will see more subscriptions, certainly. Amazon and Apple are going to see an increase in their digital wallet usage. It’s a wait-and-see on whether Apple will see a bump in AppleCard applications, as those same people willing to take on more monthly fees to satiate their self-quarantined boredom may not be willing to risk their credit score.
Digital wallet payments and stored credit card information are the norm for food delivery companies and services such as Door Dash and GrubHub. Buyers aren’t going to want to spend more than a second on the payment page, pandemic or not, so a seamless purchasing experience is critical. If any of these types of companies experience any lag due to sudden surge in volume, their customers may not be patient.
Many other types of organizations and services will also see a surge in subscriptions services, and as a result, a surge in CNP and digital wallet transactions. However, these same companies will also see a surge in costs associated with processing the transactions, one that isn’t going to go away unless they’re willing to forego their recurring revenue model. Consumers aren’t keen to take on those costs, be it housed as a surcharge or convenience fee.
One way to take on more payments but pay less in fees is to talk with your provider about their pricing model. If the word “bundle” comes up at all, ask for a cost-plus model. This will benefit your bottom line – and since you don’t have to pass on those costs, you’re more likely to keep the customers you provided value to during a time of need and necessity.
As more and more people sign-up for subscriptions, frictionless payments become a bigger factor in how that economy will grow and expand. In the most normal of times, CNP, digital wallets and contactless payments provide much-appreciated convenience. In a time of social distancing and self-isolation, they provide much needed peace of mind, and require fewer washings.
Kimberly Miller is a technology industry veteran with a not-quite mundane past and a storied future. She is Vice President, Business Development for Payway, an integrated payment processing solution.