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Tap to pay is here to stay: How to deliver a delightful contactless customer experience

  • Contactless payments have graduated from nice-to-have to a must-have option at stores.
  • The pandemic sped up the adoption process for Americans, many of whom now expect tap to pay.

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Tap to pay is here to stay: How to deliver a delightful contactless customer experience

By Julie Scharff, VP of Consumer Products, Visa

Over the last few years, the use of contactless payments has been accelerating in the United States, but when the pandemic hit, we saw that acceleration skyrocket. And no wonder: tap to pay gives shoppers alternatives to handling cash, pens and terminals, and helps people feel safer during checkout. Nearly half of consumers (49%) suggested that offering contactless payment methods is one of the most important safety measures stores can implement, and another 47% say they will not shop at a store that doesn’t offer a contactless way to pay. 

Already a fairly commonplace way to pay in other parts of the world, many Americans chose tap to pay for the first time in the last 18 months, and instantly recognized that it doesn’t just limit physical touchpoints – it’s also faster, easier, and more secure. At Visa, we saw contactless payments increase in the past year, and with more than 370 million contactless enabled Visa cards in the US today, one thing is certain: tap to pay is here to stay.

In a world still grappling with the challenges of an evolving global pandemic, businesses — especially small and mid-sized — have to keep up with their customers’ expectations for contactless experiences. To maximize the benefits of tap to pay, here are few tips and tricks to help businesses get the most out of their contactless offerings.

Welcoming customers with clear signage

Signage needs to be incorporated at the entry area, checkout areas, and near any contactless-enabled terminals. It may seem simple, but creating highly visible, standardized branding at the point of sale can foster increased use of contactless payments. In fact, just displaying signage alone is enough to drive nearly 2.5 times more touchless checkouts. On top of that, clear signage can make it easier for in-store staff as well, expediting the checkout process and giving them a more in-depth understanding of what exactly their store has to offer. 

Businesses should also ensure that the signage and the contactless payment terminals face the customer, so they can tap to pay with minimal interaction. This allows transactions to be faster and helps avoid customer frustrations that could end in a lost sale. Visa’s helping businesses succeed with free tap to pay signage available here.

Getting employees up to speed

Technology won’t benefit anyone if employees and customers don’t know how to use it. This is certainly true for contactless payments. Staff needs to have an understanding and familiarity with the terminals in order to help customers have positive experiences at checkout. Remember: checkout is usually one of the final experiences a customer has in a store — and in many ways, the last chance to make a great impression.

Implementing simple trainings for staff, whether they be full-time or seasonal employees, helps make checkout a breeze, sending customers on their way with a smile.

Tap to pay is here to stay

The rise of contactless payments started long before the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue well into the future. While the technology was once a nice to-have option for retailers, it has quickly emerged as a preferred choice to pay for items in-store. As retailers tackle the challenges of a reopening economy, ensuring their businesses are equipped with the right branding, design, and training to make the most of contactless offerings will be critical to their success and their customers’ happiness.

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