Why payments will stem the spread of COVID-19
By Jeremy Nicholds, CEO at Judopay
Almost all companies have been impacted by the global pandemic in some way, leading to adaptations in the way they conduct their everyday business. And payments have played a crucial role in this change. How we purchase our groceries, pay for transport or buy meals out can be altered to help stem the spread of the virus.
This has already been happening since March 2020. Businesses significantly reduced the use of cash, as well as the number of “touch points” at the point of sale (PoS), to minimise the risk of spreading the virus. Last year, nine-in-ten of all UK in-store card payments were made with contactless devices, highlighting their importance as a hygienic payment method.
Still, as we continue to work our way through the pandemic and establish some resemblance of what our new world will look like, we have the opportunity to find unique ways to use payments to keep the virus at bay. As such, we can expect more new innovations in the payments world over the coming years.
The next step for contactless payments
Contactless payments have helped reduce the need for customers to touch anything other (other than their card) at the till. But they still need to get close enough to the payment terminal for the transaction to be made. This can also mean getting closer to staff than the recommended 2 metres. For example, some restaurants or pubs will bring the payment terminal to the table for customers to pay.
The next logical step, is to take contactless payments to the next level and upgrade them to take place at a distance. At Judopay, we've been helping pave the way for such solutions with JudoAccept, which achieves this goal through the use of... QR codes.
How does it work?
Staff members display a QR code on their tablet or smartphone which is then scanned by the customer using their own phone, instigating the payment. As well as allowing customers to pay at a safe distance, it means that businesses don't need to invest in new and pricey hardware - all they need is a smartphone or tablet.
App-based commerce is coming into its own
Another trend that's adoption has been propelled by the virus is apps. App-based commerce - whether that's ordering new shoes from ASOS or a burger and chips with your local pub's app - has helped businesses to engage with their customers, safely. The hospitality industry has taken full advantage of this with 'pay at table' options helping to keep social distancing measures in place.
The widespread adoption of apps continues to spur on the growth of app-based commerce. As we continue to adapt and recover from the impact of the pandemic, apps will play a vital role in minimising contact during the checkout process, making them a handy tool as lockdown continues to lift and stores reopen.
A change in shopping behaviour
It's going to take a while before footfall returns to the same consistent levels they were pre-pandemic. A lot of industries have undergone a digital renaissance and customers are now even more comfortable with online spending being a core component of their commerce experience.
Businesses need to focus on having a shopping experience that meets customer expectations both online and in-store. Unified commerce solutions that include integrated products, such as JudoAccept, removes the need to connect to multiple payment providers, reduces costs and allows for the seamless marrying and comparison of online and in-store data.
A brighter future
With the vaccination rollout well underway this year is looking promising. The payments industry has an important role to play in helping society get back on its feet, so we'll no doubt see new innovations around hygienic, touch-fee and low-cost payments taking off in the coming years.
Businesses, around the globe, should be prepared to offer these new and existing ways to pay, as they lead us towards a more prosperous and safer future.