Any business recovery plan in Ireland will need to ensure that contactless and mobile payments at key consumer touch-points are incorporated seamlessly.
Covid-19 forces new approaches to business recovery plans
There’s no doubt the arrival of COVID-19 in Ireland was as unexpected as it was sharp. Businesses across the country have been challenged like never before. In addition to the devastation Covid-19 has inflicted on cash-flow and day-to-day operations, it has also introduced significant challenges too. This includes how business owners can plan for and protect the health of its customers.
As a result, business must adapt their business models to meet their customers’ expectations for doing business in a safe, accessible way.
One major shift in particular is impacting a critical business-consumer touch-point: accepting payments. Not only are customer expectations changing around how they should be able to pay; there are also more expectations placed on businesses that they’re keeping their customers and employees safe by minimising any risk of physical contact as Ireland continues to open up its economy and people begin to carefully return to some semblance of normality.
How the pandemic has affected payments
Some anecdotal evidence suggests a higher level of caution among the public when it comes to making cash payments during the Covid-19 pandemic. This is in stark contrast to the historical love affair with cash across Ireland where we have been one the highest in the Eurozone.
But attitudes to cash have been changing. The rate of contactless payments has been on the increase. Plus, with strict social distancing guidelines and the increase in the contactless payment limit, customers increasingly expect seamless contactless services. Business’s need to ensure they meet those expectations.
Other key considerations for business owners:
- Global non-cash transactions are increasing – A In the period 2016 – 2017, non-cash transactions grew 12% to reach 539 billion in volume (Source: Capgemini).
- Decreased cheque use – while the phasing out of cheques in Ireland was cancelled, the use of cheques generally has been declining.
- More online purchasing: 20% of Irish people shop online weekly (Source: PwC 2019).
Adapting fully to contactless is critical for business
At the height of the pandemic and with strict travel restrictions were, many Irish people were unable to visit shops or make cash purchases. This is where debit cards and other online payment and even contactless payment options came to the fore. This meant people could avoid using cash payments and feel safer with their shopping activities.
Why businesses must adapt Incorporating mobile and contactless payment options into an existing business model means it can be ready to meet the expanding expectations of customers and also, in many situations, expand their market as part of their business recovery plan.
Frank Conway is a Qualified Financial Adviser and founder of MoneyWhizz
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