Mobile and contactless payments

Dear Doctor Digital, I keep seeing ads for people paying for everything on their phones and smart watches, have we hit peak cashless and what do I have to do to get that my non register ringing?

Doctor Digital Says

It’s a thing. And one which isn’t going away soon. Now iPhone, Android and even smart sports wearables like Fitbit have introduced wallets into their devices, the need to carry cash or cards is becoming more and more redundant. In a COVID19 aware world, cash = germs and so the move to cashless has accelerated faster for consumers than ever before. So what do you have to do to take advantage of this and make sure your customers can buy anywhere anytime with as little friction as possible? The answer is pretty much let people know, as if your existing POS takes paywave style payments, it should also be enabled to take a payment from a smart phone or watch. The underlying tech has been made possible with the use of near field communication, or NFC, which is the same technology that allows you to ‘tap and go’ when you make a payment with your card at the checkout.

In Australia, there are three main types of contactless devices which are dominating the market: Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay. All of these options need customers to have loaded their card into the virtual wallet, and each need to be ‘activated’ by the consumer to enable a security check and connectivity with the device. All of these devices have strong commitments to consumer safety and guarantee information is kept under virtual lock and key.

All the major banks including Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, ANZ and NAB offer tap and pay options via their smartphone apps. The only caveat is that consumers have to check they have the right type of phones. This payment method only works on specific phones. There are also non-financial institution options like Square and Stripe in the market that are levelling the playing field with cloud based services that are a low cost entry designed for small businesses to get agile.

Paying with a mobile can already be as simple as tap and go. It’s worth noting that some systems also have payment limits, allowing them to only tap and go with one or two hundred dollars before a signature or PIN is required.

This technology is relatively established in Australia and its simplicity is having us reaching for our phones more often than our wallets. As a business make sure your POS is up to date and has the capacity to do contactless transaction, then let you customers know with plenty of signage and conversation that you are giving them the ease and convenience of being able to pay with their phone or watch.

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