Contactless payments are hot, but are they secure?

In this COVID era, contactless payments are rapidly becoming the technology of choice for retailers and restaurant owners alike. Fears of being contaminated with the coronavirus have prompted customers in these industries to obsess over germs and hygiene in general, especially in public spaces.

Avoiding strangers outside of the household, disinfecting groceries after food shopping, washing one’s hands compulsively are all examples of new habits we have developed as we continue to fight COVID-19. This shift in consumer behavior has encouraged retailers, for example, to adopt new technologies that allow customers to pay quickly and efficiently, from anywhere in the store. Restaurants have also implemented extra precautionary measures by utilizing new devices to ensure their clients feel more secure as they eat, wait, and pay.

It’s safe to say these new developments decrease the risk of COVID transmission, but are contactless payments secure from cyberattacks? First, let us examine why virtually every merchant across the U.S. and Canada accepts contactless payments today.

contactless payments

Contactless transactions

Contactless transactions have gone mainstream due to today’s new normal of hygiene-conscious individuals. Although the concept isn’t entirely new, many merchants worldwide are switching over to smart card readers, for example, as an efficient way to have their customers pay for goods and services. People want to tap or hover their credit card, debit card, or smartphone over the terminal without having to touch the keypad. Thanks to NFC (near-field communication) technology, two devices can communicate or exchange information by a simple hand gesture. No matter the size of business or industry, contactless payments accelerate transaction times by not having to handle cash.

POS systems in retail

POS (point-of-sale) systems are also modernizing the in-store experience and being utilized as the new way to pay. A shift in consumer behavior has led many retailers to adopt POS technology in stores. People want convenience. They want to be in and out, feel safe from germs, and pay quickly from anywhere in the store. Devices such as iPad POS systems are mobile, allowing the salesperson to assist clients on the floor with ease, pull up inventory information, and make sales on the spot. This type of payment is projected to ease the holiday shopping rush, which is why many retailers are adopting the POS system ahead of time.

POS systems in restaurants

The payment process should have the ability to move with you. This technology is revolutionizing the restaurant industry by allowing employees to step away from the cash register and perform transactions on the go. The ease of use provides customers with a better user experience. For example, clients who have finished dining don’t have to wait in lines to settle the bill. Transactions are quickly processed at the table, allowing people to leave once they’ve finished their meal instead of hanging around. As a result, more customers are being served faster, increasing the restaurant’s foot traffic.

Contactless payments and safety

They’re fast, easy, and yes – secure. Contactless payments aren’t any more vulnerable to hackers than any other technology or computer system. There are security standards put in place to ensure these payment systems are safe from cybercrimes. Firstly, POS software is cloud-based, which automatically adds a layer of security. When sensitive information is captured on an iPad, it is not stored on the actual device but rather in the Cloud, inaccessible to potential hackers. Using a system that is cloud-based enables restaurant owners and retailers to have more control over their data by accessing it remotely, making it difficult for outsiders to hack.

Another security feature is the chip or “smart card,” used by customers to tap or hover above the system to make payments. This sophisticated technology does not need to depend on external resources to communicate with it. As a result, potential vulnerabilities are practically non-existent.

Contactless payments: The new way to pay and sell

During these unprecedented times, merchants are equipping their staff with the tools to not only ensure customers feel secure but to take their businesses to the next level by enabling flexible, comprehensible reporting and functionality at the palm of their hands.

It is more important than ever to understand the needs and wants of the end customer. It is also vital to empower staff with intuitive tools to make quicker, larger sales, so more customers are served in shorter periods of time. A good POS software system has a fully integrated feature set offering customers the choice to shop online or in-person, and hardware devices employees can use to work better on the move.

Contactless technologies unlock insights into past sales and include inventory and customer management so that retailers and restaurant owners can make more informed business decisions, which translate into profits. Companies that have adopted these tools are gaining better insights into their businesses from a single, easy to understand place.

Featured image: Designed by Upklyak / Freepik

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