Writing for Business Advice, Grace Kennedy of merchant financers 365 Business Finance considers the opportunities available to small businesses as consumers increasingly opt for cashless forms of payment.
Although we’ve seen the new £5 notes dominate recent headlines, there are many digital changes shaping the way consumers deal with cash, and in the long-term, how businesses manage payments from consumers.
Although contactless payments seem like they’re an everyday part of life, contactless cards are still a relatively new way of cashless payment.
Only now, as old cards expire and new cards issued, are we seeing a full uptake in contactless card payments – pair this with the ability to use contactless payments to make train or bus journeys, and the need to carry cash greatly reduces.
To put the level of contactless payments in perspective, in the three months running up to July 2016 there were a total of 240m contactless card payments in the UK, totalling £2.1bn.
This is a 30 per cent increase in sales on the same period in 2015 and a 1.6 per cent increase on the previous period between January and March 2016. Notably, it is a 170 per cent increase in the number of transactions made.
What’s more, businesses are seeing the value as well. In July 2016 it was noted there are a total 396,132 bank-owned contactless card machines in circulation – that’s a 46 per cent increase on the amount in 2015.
The next step beyond contactless payments has been to remove the need to carry a bank card. Apple and Android Pay have allowed smartphone owners to hook their bankcards up to a mobile and use a phone to make payments. Apparently, the convenience offered here is appealing to consumers.
According to a shareholder update from Apple in April 2016, use of the contactless payment service had increased 500 per cent in a year, and at the current rate was gaining a million new users per week.
In July, there were more than 11m points of sale for Apple Pay across the world and estimations put Apple Pay transactions at a whopping $10.9bn for 2015.
As contactless limits increase, surely the uptake in card payments will increase with it.
Cashless payment growth within business
As the market for cashless payments grows on a grand scale, so does the demand for smaller and growing businesses to offer the opportunity to pay without cash.
Mobile contactless adaptions, which run through a variety of apps and hook directly to a bank account, are widely available and standard contactless card machines can be bought online to be added to a business.
What’s more, payments to cash machines can be used as a way to raise capital.
On top of this, additional apps for profits and cash flow within a business can be connected to all of the above for a seamlessly connected, efficient and growing business.
Grace Kennedy is marketing executive at 365 Business Finance.
Cashless payment overtakes the use of cheques in Britain.
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