What’s the Best Way to Take Contactless Payments?

keyboard, coffee and a credit card

One day, you’re open to the public. Suddenly, you’re plunged into offering curbside service and delivery options. Then, just as quickly, you’re doing a hybrid of both — maybe you’re able to open your doors, but only to a limited number of people, and only if you take huge precautions. Many customers still expect contactless options.

Let’s say you’ve found a way to do business without contact. You’re putting your classes online. You’re leveraging your email list to manage subscriptions. You’re delivering curbside. You’ve limited interaction between your servicepeople and your clients. But there’s still a problem, and it’s a big one — how do you collect payment?

Payments are an opportunity to gain or lose trust with your customers. If you can offer a seamless, professional way to pay, you give them confidence that they can trust you with their money — and that means they’re more likely to do just that, again and again. If they have to fumble through a payment experience, they lose faith in your business. During the coronavirus pandemic, we have an additional hurdle — we need to offer customers a way to pay without contact. That means handling over a credit card or a check will give some customers pause — and pausing at point of purchase is never what we want.

There are many options for offering contactless payments. Some of them require a high investment. Others are free, but more difficult to track. Here’s a quick roundup of the pros and cons of a few choices — along with the pros and cons of each.

Using an App Like Venmo, CashApp, PayPal etc.

Pro: These apps are easy to set up, and many customers have at least one of them.

Con: Depending on the app, your customer has to have the exact same app in order to transfer money — if your customer is using Venmo but you aren’t, you’re out of luck. Signing up for all the apps is an option, but that makes payments hard to keep up with.

Con: Your username can be difficult for customers to find. Also, customers usually have to enter the right payment amount for themselves (you can request a payment, but in that case, you’ll need their username).

Taking Credit Cards Over the Phone

Pro: No need for a separate payment processor; you can use your existing POS and/or inventory system.

Con: Fraud is much higher when it comes to phone payments; because customers don’t have to sign for these payments, they’re easy to dispute.

Con: Customer confidence tends to be low when paying over the phone, and depending on their location, it isn’t safe (they can be overheard when telling you the number). Here’s a short guide to taking payments over the phone more safely.

Taking Payment through Forms on Your Website

Pro: This method is safe, and since it’s on your website, customer confidence is high. There’s also a chance a customer will learn more about your business, including other offerings you’re providing, when they fill out the form.

Pro: Adding a form to your website is usually extremely quick and inexpensive. It’s a fraction of the cost of adding full ecommerce to your site, so it can even be a good “placeholder” that allows you to take payments while your site is being built.

Con: It’s difficult do to track multiple items or food menu items through form payments, so we normally recommend this method for businesses with fairly standard payments. It’s fantastic for collecting organization dues, or for many service businesses that have only a handful of rates (cleaners, gardeners, etc.). Think this might be a good option for you? Learn more about adding a form to your site.

Add Ecommerce to Your Website

Pro: If you turn your website into its own storefront by adding ecommerce, you can have the best of both worlds — you’ll be able to collect and track contactless payments easily during the COVID-19 crisis, and you can even add pick up and delivery options so customers can pay online and pick their items up curbside. And when things go back to “normal,” you’ll have brick-and-mortar sales plus online orders that could be coming in even while you sleep.

Pro: With a full ecommerce store, you have the ability to be very specific about what the customer is buying and an exact price. You can collect shipping information. You can even, in some cases, integrate with your POS or inventory system.

Con: Setting up a good ecommerce store is an investment, and it can be time consuming, depending on the kind of store you set up and what you need at launch. At Infomedia, we have several options in a range of options depending on what you need. We even have options for getting your site up quickly — including a 24-hour turnaround for getting product photos at an incredible price.

We know that taking payments is essential, but sometimes we forget that how we take those payments is incredibly important to our customers. If you’re considering adding a form to your website to quickly be able to take payments, or if you’d like to set up a full online shop, Infomedia would love to help. Fill out this contact form, and a member of our team will call you back just to talk through your options. We’re not pushy, so if we’re not right for you, we’ll point you in a better direction. And if we can help, we’ll work hard to find a great solution at the best price for your business.

woman laughs while looking off camera for Infomedia

Carrie has been copyediting and writing for fifteen years. Her skills were forged in the newsroom at The Birmingham Post-Herald and she’s a huge book nerd (she moonlights as Southern Living’s book reviewer), but a love of paper and ink hasn’t stopped her from mastering the digital world as well: She’s had a blog pretty much since they existed, and she’s run social media for companies big and small. Carrie’s always ready to take on a new communication challenge, lecture us about the proper use of semicolons, or defend the fact that her Instagram account is filled with selfies.


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