When any technology comes around there’ll always be myths and rumours that make it sound risky.
Contactless card machines are no exception.
Despite UK customers spending more than £61bn on debit and credit cards in August (the latest official figures from UK Finance) there are still some businesses – particularly smaller ones – that remain unsure about the benefits of a card machine.
The reality is, contactless machines are incredibly popular with customers, especially those purchased from Handepay, and very safe for businesses.
And with the contactless spend limit rising to £100 in October 2021, contactless will continue to rise in popularity in 2022 and beyond.
So, to help separate some fact from fiction when it comes to contactless card machines, here’s the top myths customers still talk about, and the actual reality.
Myth 1 – Contactless card machines are expensive for businesses
This comes up all the time, especially fees.
When it comes to transaction fees, it can get expensive if you use a PAYG machine.
These typically have transaction fees above 2% per transaction, which gets expensive when you have a high volume of orders.
However other providers who offer card machines on flexible monthly contracts typically offer these fees below 1%.
Some merchant providers also don’t charge many of the ‘hidden fees’ you get with others, like PCI compliance fees.
So when it comes to cost, choosing the right card machine with the right provider can work out a lot cheaper than you think.
Myth 2 – Cash is easier
If you think about it, managing cash is extremely time consuming.
It takes longer for customers to pay (especially if they’re trying to count out the exact change).
It takes longer to give them their change when you’re counting out coins.
It’s riskier because the threat from counterfeit bank notes is far greater than that from fraud payments on cards.
And it takes longer to reconcile your cash in a till with receipts at the end of the day – and that’s even assuming everything matches first time.
On the other hand, contactless cards are easy.
The customer just taps and the payment is approved in a matter of seconds.
And it’s even easier since the contactless payment limit went up to £100 in October.
Plus, your card machine creates an automatic audit trail of all your payments so if you ever have any issues you have a record of every payment you’ve taken during a given period.
So however you look at it, cash just isn’t easier.
Myth 3 – Customer prefer cash
There may have been some truth to this when contactless payments first emerged.
But it’s certainly no longer true after the events of the last two years.
The covid pandemic has driven more customers than ever to using contactless card payments, many for the first time.
And now they’ve seen the benefits, few will be going back to cash.
Capgemini’s World Payment’s report highlights that a significant proportion of customers who used contactless for the first time during the pandemic now view it as their preferred payment method, and similar numbers say they now prefer to shop with businesses that offer card and contactless payments.
Myth 4 – Customers are limited on what they can spend on contactless cards
Again, this may have been true a few years ago when the contactless spending limit was £35.
But today that limit is £100, meaning everything from single items to full weekly shops can be bought using contactless card machines.
Plus, according to Mastercard, businesses that adopted contactless card payments report a 30% increase in customer spend within the first year.
This is because customers feel less restricted when they’re not concerned about whether they’ll have the right change to pay for items.
Knowing they can pay on card makes them far more likely to spend more and increase the amount of impulse purchases they’ll make.
Myth 5 – Contactless card payments aren’t secure
This is simply not true.
In fact, compared to the fraud risks from accepting counterfeit bank notes, and the safeguarding measures in place around card payments, you could argue that contactless card payments are actually more secure than cash.
Card machines and contactless payment cards are both fitted with chips that use encrypted signals to ‘communicate’ when a card is placed in proximity of the machine during a transaction.
There’s no way for this signal to be compromised, so the customer has nothing to worry about.
And for businesses, payments are only authorised if the customer has sufficient funds in their account, so there’s no chance of losing out on a sale by accepting contactless payments.
Myth 6 – A business can be ‘too small’ to accept contactless cards
When contactless cards were first introduced they were typically seen as a payment tool for large High Street brands or supermarkets.
It didn’t help that many small businesses introduced minimum spend on card payments before they’d accept them (mostly to cover the fees they had with their provider).
Today, there really is no business that’s too small for a card machine.
From sole traders selling at markets to small corner shops, contactless card machines are a viable option for any kind, and any size of business.
Benefitting from the reality of contactless card machines
The fact is contactless card machines are a safe, efficient and popular way for businesses to accept payments today.
Customers are no longer just using cards to pay either, many are now using e-wallets on their smart devices that are linked to their accounts to make payments.
And any business needs to have a contactless card machine to be able to accept these payments.
In reality, as payment technology continues to move forward, having a contactless card machine is going to be non-negotiable for businesses no matter what industry they’re in or whatever size they are.