Businesses and consumers alike across the UK have been affected by the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Companies around the country were forced to close or limit hours after a lockdown was announced in March.
Those who remained operational during the summer were forced to adapt the way they trade.
Extensive safety procedures became mandatory, including face masks, one-way systems and customer limits.
Businesses also needed to evaluate the safety of their payment process.
With businesses no longer able to operate as normal, they had to quickly adapt to new selling circumstances.
Many chose to start trading online, with cafés and restaurants among those making big changes. Existing sit-in services became takeaway or delivery options, with payments taken over the internet.
Other companies served customers virtually, accepting payments over the phone.
However, the biggest change was to in-store payments.
In response to the pandemic, the government and the WHO encouraged businesses and consumers to reduce cash use.
Card payments were recognised for their safety, a more hygienic payment method in line with social distancing guidelines.
Contactless was highlighted as the safest card payment method, with no requirements to touch a PIN pad or pass cash to a cashier.
To improve contactless uptake, the existing transaction limit on contactless cards increased from £30 to £45 in April 2020. Mobile wallets, such as Apple Pay, still offered higher limits, depending on consumer bank limitations.
The contactless rise was already in development, with the launch brought forward to minimise risk during lockdown.
Shoppers got on board with the recommendations, with 45% claiming to using contactless more often during the pandemic.
One in 10 consumers have made their first ever contactless transaction in the past few months!
Paying using card rather than cash has become commonplace, with businesses actively encouraging their customers to ditch cash. Many companies even chose to become entirely cashless during the pandemic, improving safety and speed of transactions.
The contactless limit of £45 is here to stay. The same can be said for card payment use in the future, with cash use already declining in the past five years in the UK.
Independent businesses need to adapt their payment process. If consumers increasingly want to pay using card, they need to make sure that they cater to customer needs.
Card payment solutions, whether in store, over the phone or online, are now a vital tool for companies of all sizes.
We offer a range of tailor-made payment solutions, with every terminal equipped with the latest contactless technology. Get in touch with us to find out more.