Why Merchants Shouldn’t Fear the Cashless World

Cash may not be dead yet, but consumer demand indicates that we are heading that way – so it’s important that merchants keep up by providing a range of cashless options for their consumers.

Society is becoming increasingly cash-free as more consumers choose to rely on debit and credit cards, as well as alternative payments like mobile wallets. Many businesses in both the attended and unattended kiosk market need to begin providing more options for cashless payments. Making this change can be a scary process, however there are specialists that merchants can rely on to make this transition easier. Failure to do so could result in a loss of profit, which is far worse.

Research from UK Finance showed that in a ten year period the amount of payments made with physical money had dropped by 22%, falling from 62% in 2006 to 40% in 2016. At present, less than half of all payments in the UK are made with cash, and if this trend continues then by 2026 it is predicted that this figure will drop to 21%. This may be exciting for consumers, but it’s an unnerving prospect for merchants. As demands shift merchants are forced to keep up with the implementation and cost of employing new technologies. If they don’t, they risk losing out on profit and end up left in the past.

Survival of the fittest

Almost every sector has had to adapt to these changes in consumer culture. Whether small independents, chain supermarkets or pop-up stalls, some form of alternative payment option is required – and it’s not just retailers that face this problem. The same can be seen within the hospitality, medical, ticketing and electrical vehicle charging industries, to name a few – basically anywhere that a paid-for service is required.

Nevertheless, not everywhere has managed to keep up with the changing payment environment. One sector that is particularly behind is the unattended kiosk market. Some machines, such as vending machines and parking meters, do offer newer payment methods – such as contactless and pay by app – but it is often only in the bigger towns and cities.

Large cities such as London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Cardiff offer a number of different cashless payment options but as you get further out of these highly-populated areas the amount of choice decreases. Many rural areas across the UK still rely on traditional coin-operated machines, and in these cases with no one around to attend to customers, these markets are unusable to much of the population. If they do offer some form of cashless payment (for example many car parks now use pay by app) then these end up being the only way to pay which presents an inconvenience for the user. New customers may not have that method of payment and are then stuck, unable to use the service.

This is a major issue as upgrading these self-service payment terminals is no simple task. It is both time-consuming and expensive which is why many have yet to make the transition. What’s more – many are unsure where to even begin.

Making the change

To support merchants, payments experts, Ingenico Enterprise Retail, and value-added reseller, Hemisphere West Europe (HWE), have been working together to help make the switch to cashless payments seamless and cost-effective. By outsourcing to a specialist in the contactless payments sector, industry best practices are being utilised to update and replace many of these unattended merchant kiosks.

For true longevity in a society where multiple payment options are on the rise it is not good enough to simply add a contactless terminal, for example. Comprehensive support for multiple different payment options is required – mobile wallets like Google Pay and Apple Pay are all popular forms of contactless payments and it is important that the terminals can recognise the different options. An Application Programming Interface (API) is the solution to a long-lasting terminal as it allows merchants to integrate their partner’s payment applications into the device, making updating terminals with the latest payment methods more cost-efficient and less time-consuming. 

A little help from a friend

Ultimately, businesses across multiple verticals – including retail, hospitality, self-service, ticketing and more – need to begin providing options for cashless payments. As consumer habits change, these industries must adapt or lose out on sales. Many big city merchants have made the leap, however most don’t cater to every form of payment available, and outside of these more populated areas the consumer offering is often limited to only a couple ways to pay. While keeping up with these changes appears to be a daunting process for merchants, there are specialists out there who exist to make that move easier.

Ingenico Enterprise Retail’s omnichannel solution is one such option, providing merchants with a multi-factor offering to suit their needs. From a payment gateway that accepts multiple payment methods, to acquiring facilities and advanced data monitoring, the solution allows merchants to process transactions across any channel, increase conversion, improve user experience, as well as handle fraud risks.

Cash may not be dead yet, but consumer demand indicates that we are heading that way – so it’s important that merchants keep up by providing a range of cashless options for their consumers. By doing so, they will give themselves the best chance to maximise sales and enhance the user experience.

To learn more about how Ingenico can help your business embrace cashless, visit www.ingenico.co.uk/omnichannel/hwe.


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