6 Contactless Payment Solutions for Retailers

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As retailers work to bring customers back into physical stores, they’re quickly implementing the latest safety measures. Outside of the obvious recommendations, like use of facemasks, disinfectants, and social distancing markers, retailers are investing in contactless payment technology to keep customers safe.

Banks like Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America were already working to drive adoption of contactless technology before the coronavirus pandemic struck. Now, major companies like Disney are getting in on the action as well. Contactless payments were recently listed as one of the limited-contact enhancements Disney plans to implement as it re-opens its theme parks to the public. Retailers that want to reopen with the latest safety measures in place can use this same technology to minimize touch points for customers in their stores.

More than one quarter of small businesses have already seen an increase in contactless payment transactions since the pandemic began, and those retailers that aren’t accepting mobile payments or contactless payments are missing out on potential sales.

Retailers have dozens of ways to go when implementing contactless payments in brick-and-mortar stores. The best option usually depends on the retailer’s size and budget. Smaller businesses tend to rely more on app-based contactless payments and mobile solutions as a way to minimize the costs associated with integrating an entirely new point-of-sale system.

Here are six mobile payment and contactless payment options that retailers can use to help curb the spread of coronavirus inside their stores.

1. Google Pay
Google Pay merges the Google Wallet and Android Pay. With Google Pay, retailers can accept contactless payments at terminals inside their stores using payment information that’s already been saved on the customer’s Google account. Google Pay is available to customers worldwide, giving shoppers the option to pay on their tablets, phones, or smartwatches without touching a store’s devices. Google Pay is available to businesses for free, however retailers must use a participating Google Pay processor to take part.

2. Apple Pay
By far the most ubiquitous contactless payment solution for retailers, Apple Pay works very similarly to Google Pay. With Apple Pay, consumers can pay for purchases with their mobile devices, just as long as they’ve setup their accounts with a supported debit card or credit card. To accept contactless payments with Apple Pay, merchants must have a NFC-capable POS terminal. Not all POS terminals are capable of accepting contactless payments, and some that are capable haven’t been updated with the correct software. Apple does not charge businesses additional fees for using its contactless service.

3. Samsung Pay
Although Samsung Pay hasn’t generated as many headlines as some of its competitors, this is still a viable option for merchants. Samsung’s technology is somewhat unique, in that it allows consumers to make purchases at contactless payment terminals and older magnetic stripe terminals. It relies on NFC and magnetic secure transmission to emit a signal from the customer’s Samsung device and transfer stored payment information directly to the merchant’s terminal. Samsung Pay can be implemented using a merchant’s existing hardware. It’s available in two dozen countries.

Although Google, Apple, and Samsung are the biggest players in the contactless payment space, other technology providers are coming up with their own solutions.

4. Braintree
As a division of PayPal, Braintree is well known in the payment processing arena. The company has come up with a solution meant to bring virtual storefronts into the real world. Designed for omni-channel buyers, the system setup by Braintree and Paypal allows shoppers to make purchases in-store with payment methods they’ve already saved to an online profile. The system makes it easier for merchants to handle in-store and curbside pickups, and it works with contactless cards, like the Venmo debit card, as well as Apple Pay and Google Pay.

5. Fattmerchant
An integrated payment technology provider, Fattmerchant is used by merchants in a variety of industries. The company recently launched a contactless payment solution called Contactless by Omni, which provides business owners with the ability to go touch-free. Retailers can accept payments via touch-free mobile and countertop terminal devices, where customers tap their cards, phones, or smartwatches to complete transactions. Among the more interesting features is a virtual portal for keying in phone orders and a text-to-pay feature. Merchants can also send a payment link to customers via text, so customers can complete transactions through their mobile phones.

6. Paysafe
Paysafe is giving merchants a unique way to accept payments from customers without physical contact. The company’s MobilePay app works on iOS and Android devices, including phones and tablets. It acts like a portable POS, in tandem with an EMV and NFC enabled card reader. With the app in place, retailers can accept contactless payments from customers. Receipts are generated digitally and sent to the customer via SMS or email. Paysafe’s system doesn’t limit the number of payment methods that a retailer can accept. Merchants can still accept cash or checks, if that’s how a customer prefers to pay.

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.Rainbow over Montclair

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.