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Guest Post: Post COVID-19 Retail–How Contactless Payments Will Impact Customer Experience in the Future

This week we feature an article by Mathew Cooper, a Content Marketing Head at POS Plaza. He writes about the advantages of contactless transactions for both employees and retailers during the pandemic and beyond. The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced us all to the new world that is still adjusting to strict social distancing regulations and […]

This week we feature an article by Mathew Cooper, a Content Marketing Head at POS Plaza. He writes about the advantages of contactless transactions for both employees and retailers during the pandemic and beyond.

The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced us all to the new world that is still adjusting to strict social distancing regulations and lockdown and quarantine periods. For frontline businesses, reducing the risk of coronavirus infection has become an inevitable concern. From sanitizing stores daily to limiting the number of consumers at a moment and creating visual markers to ensure social distancing, retailers are taking all necessary measures to ensure the safety of their staff and customers against the virus. But one pandemic-driven technological shift that is gaining more attention in the retail sector than any other measures and will remain even after the pandemic is over, is – contactless payment.

Though contactless payment has been around for over a decade now, more and more companies are realizing the importance of this technology as it reduces the reliance on cash payment or inserting a card into a point of sale terminal – both of which involve physical contact.


Contactless payments are the type of payment made by tapping or waving a contactless device – usually NFC- or RFID-enabled card or smartphone – over a point of sale terminal or reader. Common devices used for contactless payments include – key fobs, stickers, tablets, wearable devices, such as wristbands and watches. Contactless transactions offer a fast and convenient way to pay which means consumers can just tap to pay and be on their way. In addition to speeding up the checkout process, there are many other ways contactless pay technology helps improve the customer experience and operational efficiency.

Here are some advantages of adopting contactless pay technology:


  • Convenience and Ease of Use

Instead of swiping a card, consumers can just wave or tap the card over the payment terminal, which reduces physical contact and increases peace of mind. The best part is contactless payments are not limited to cards. Contactless technology is increasingly available to consumers in multiple forms, such as stickers, key fobs, mini cards and mobile wallets – Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal – reducing the need for consumers to carry a physical wallet at all.

The near-field communication (NFC) sensors embedded in smartphones, cards and smart accessories like watches and rings send signals directly to contactless-enabled POS hardware, eliminating the need to make direct contact with surfaces around or hand cash to the retail staff – greatly reducing the risk of spreading contaminants.

  • Speedy Checkout

The research has proven that contactless payments are faster than cash and conventional card transactions. On average, a contactless transaction takes around 15 seconds to complete. Customers have to spend less time digging through their wallets to find their card and don’t have to enter their PIN, which saves a lot of their time. Besides, the lesser the cash and conventional cards to handle and process, the lesser the chances of queues building up at the checkout.

  • Safety and Security

The card or device used in contactless transactions never leaves the customer’s hand, greatly reducing the chances of the card being stolen, forgotten or lost during the course of transaction. Just like any other Visa chip card, contactless cards provide multiple layers of security including an EMV chip technology, real-time fraud detection systems, and unique encryption which protects the cardholder from multiple fraudulent transactions.


  • Staff and Operational Efficiency

A faster checkout means your store can do with fewer employees even during peak business hours. As contactless transactions only need a tap on the reader or payment terminal, staff behind registers can be cut to be distributed on the sales floor to improve efficiency across other important areas of customer service and shop experience.

  • Improved Customer Loyalty

Successful retailers prioritize customer experience above all, and contactless payment helps do exactly that. Faster, more secure and effortless transactions mean more sales in less time and a reduction in abandoned sales due to a hassle-free shopping experience.

The majority of contactless transactions do not require any verification to print out receipts on authorization unless the customer asks for it or the transaction is of a higher value. This reduces wait times at the till, increasing customer satisfaction. So, by offering a contactless payment method, especially during this pandemic, retailers demonstrate that they value customer safety and convenience, which will increase customers’ loyalty towards their brand.

  • Better Marketing Opportunities

Loyalty programs are an excellent way to improve the experience of loyal customers while increasing customer retention rates. Mobile-based contactless payments provide a multitude of marketing opportunities to retailers – you can utilize personalized mobile coupons and reward customers that make contactless payments.

  • No Additional Charges

Businesses that accept contactless payments do not have to incur any additional fees. They have to pay the same charges as they would require paying for a regular credit card transaction.

Businesses that fail to recognize these advantages are already missing out on potential customers that expect and prefer tap-and-go payment to traditional methods. And in the new pandemic-driven retail environment, which is increasingly focused on customer safety and experience, avoiding this trend can be risky.


Typically, customers either swipe their card or stick it in a chip reader at the checkout station to make a card payment. Both the payment methods require the customer to touchpoint of sale hardware or in some cases, giving the card to a cashier to swipe or insert it for them.

Contactless payment allows consumers to hover or tap their card to complete a purchase without any physical contact. These cards are embedded with a chip that emits radio waves and an antenna that secures the connection with a contactless reader – which is known as radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.

When a customer holds a contactless card near the merchant’s payment terminal, the terminal picks up the information on the chip and transmits it to a card-processing network such as Visa or Mastercard. The network ensures that the data is in the correct format and then forwards the payment confirmation to the merchant.


Contactless payment technology has been gaining favor amongst consumers and retailers for some years now. But now in the times of pandemic, contactless technology is becoming more and more widespread, with governments advising retailers and consumers to minimize physical contact during payment processing. From offering faster checkouts and payment convenience to improving operational efficiency and providing marketing opportunities, contactless payment adoption creates a win-win situation for both retailers and consumers.

As businesses begin the process of resuming operation after months of shutdowns and stay-at-home orders, consumers still remain wary about virus exposure and having direct contact with people as part of the payment process, which could hold them back from shopping in brick and mortar stores. Keeping that in mind, giving customers the ability to pay through mobile devices or contactless cards will not only reduce the risk of spreading the virus and increase peace of mind, but also ensure your retail success in the future.

Mathew Cooper is a Content Marketing Head at POS Plaza, a reputed online dealer of POS hardware and solutions in Australia. Mathew is involved in developing highly researched and engaging posts about everything POS.

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