Out of touch: Contactless payment has ‘huge impact’ on customer service

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Credit card, Payment

There are currently 38.1 million contactless cards in circulation across the UK
There are currently 38.1 million contactless cards in circulation across the UK
Restaurants, pubs, bars and cafés that don’t offer contactless payment technology are ‘out of touch’ with what customers want and risk losing out on additional business. 

That’s according to payment service provider WorldPay, which has just released new research which reveals the use of contactless payment on the high street has more than trebled (+226%) over the past year alone.

“Anyone who doesn’t keep up with the new ways customers want to pay is at risk of missing out on business,” said WorldPay’s UK chief marketing officer James Frost. “Customers are increasingly looking for the fastest, easiest ways to pay and using cash less often.

“With contactless, you can serve customers quickly during peak times and cut down queues, which is hugely important for the pub industry - especially during happy hour.”

The research revealed that customers who have used contactless payment find it ‘quick and efficient’ and 60% now recognise the contactless symbol at a paypoint. Latest transactional data from WorldPay shows consumer confidence in contactless has also grown, with the average sale size increasing by 27% in just two years

Notably, almost half (47%) of the survey’s 2,159 respondents said they were ‘dissatisfied with the delay’ in making a card payment in a bar, café or restaurant - a further 65% said they would not visit again if forced to wait a long time.

Shannon Arnold, director of marketing for EPoS provider Maitre’D, told BigHospitality: “Operators that implement contactless payments see a huge impact on speed of service, which surely explains why we’ve seen an increase in adoption rate, especially in the fast food and bar environments.”

Contactless payment: Q&A

Should your hospitality business be using contactless payment if it isn’t already? We asked Frost from WorldPay some of the key questions you need to know before implementing the technology.

  • Will the £20 limit be increased?

We would envisage it moving to £30-£35 mark over the next two to three years and potentially beyond that in the future. There are discussions ongoing in the industry, but no definite outcome at this stage.

  • What do businesses need to do to be able to take contactless? 

You need a card machine that is capable of taking contactless payments. If your card machine can do this then all you need to do to get started is contact your payments provider to enable contactless on your terminal.

If your card machine is a bit older then it might not be capable of taking contactless payments, and you’ll need to swap it for a newer one. There may be charge for swapping your card machine.”

  • What are the security issues businesses need to consider when it comes to contactless payment?

Speed is valued by customers, but so is security. Contactless is robust technology: there are several controls in place to protect businesses and their customers. These include a transaction limit, a limit on the number of consecutive transactions to be made before a customer is asked for their PIN, and cover if the card is used fraudulently.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the typical low transaction value of a contactless payment acts as a dis-incentive in itself for fraudsters, so there’s usually less fraud with contactless cards.

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