The cashless society is slowly but surely becoming a reality, with contactless payments revolutionizing the way we do business. More and more retailers are adopting cashless payment systems, making it easier and faster to purchase goods and services than ever before. These contactless payments often involve using a phone app or credit card reader with no need to physically exchange cash or coins. As well as enhancing the customer experience, this technology helps to reduce the amount of cash that must be kept on hand in stores and offers greater protection against fraud compared to cash transactions. It is easy to see why contactless payments are gaining popularity amongst shoppers and businesses alike.
Cash is no longer king in Ireland—and contactless is awaiting a coronation. As the following article reports, contactless payment transactions are growing rapidly by winning the support of both merchants and consumers alike.
Ireland is well on the way to becoming a cashless society with consumers taking to contactless payments in ever greater numbers. According to the latest statistics from Visa, more than three million contactless payment transactions are made every week in Ireland – up from only 75,000 just two years ago. That quite startling rate of growth has seen contactless now account for one in three of all face-to-face Visa payments in this country.
It is little wonder that consumers have embraced contactless payments so warmly. They are quick and convenient, taking 40 per cent less time than a normal card payment and they do away with the hassle of carrying notes and small change for transactions less than €30. The advent of Apple Pay and Android Pay on mobile phones is set to make tap-and-go payments more popular still. We can now pay for our coffee, paper, parking, and shopping with a simple touch of our phone or card – our whole day can be contactless with no need for cash.
This presents challenges and opportunities for retailers. In the first instance, businesses need to keep up with the times and offer their customers the payment options they want. On the other hand, there is a need to focus on running the business and reduce time spent on administrative tasks such as reconciling card statements, making cash lodgements, and balancing the books.
When it comes to running a business, data is key to making decisions. Business owners need to know what is happening at any time in their business to make informed decisions – what’s selling, when it is selling and at what price. This helps with stock control, staff rotas and understanding customer buying habits.
Several countries that were early adopters are now the leaders in cashless payment transactions, with Sweden, Ireland, and Canada among them. It greatly helps to have a payments system that utilizes cards as well smartphones to make contactless transactions. In the U.S., consumers are conditioned to pull out a credit or debit card to swipe or insert for payment. Further, most U.S. POS locations are not equipped for contactless card payments anyway. However, many POS terminals do accept Apple, Android, and Samsung Pay, but shoppers do not yet find smartphones more convenient than reaching for the plastic to pay.
Overview by Raymond Pucci, Associate Director, Research Services at Mercator Advisory Group
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