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Going contactless doesn't have to be difficult

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The COVID-19 situation is fluid, but depending on where you’re located, businesses might be opening back up.

Salons, restaurants, fitness centers, retailers and more have weathered unprecedented closures in recent months, and there’s a lot riding on how seamlessly and safely they can reopen.

This is why contactless payments are central to any business’s reopening plans. They not only help reduce the likelihood of spreading COVID-19, but also make customers feel safer and more likely to spend their money.

Restaurants that have shifted to delivery and takeout models over the past few months are familiar with various ordering platforms, but these payment solutions aren’t sustainable for in-person visits.

Mobile wallets used to just be a novelty. Whip out your phone in a checkout line and hover it over a POS system to automatically make a payment. The benefit used to be saving a few seconds and not having to leave the house with your wallet or purse. But now it’s much more than that.

Apple Pay and Google Pay allow customers to make in-person payments without touching anything.

Physical credit cards themselves are trending toward tap payments, which is a big improvement over inserting or swiping. But that puts pressure on business owners to upgrade their POS systems to accept tap payments, whether they come from Apple Pay, Google Pay or newer credit cards.

Of course, there is one glaring problem with this approach: Not all customers have access to the technology to make these types of payments.

QR codes have never been so fashionable. Many restaurants have already integrated QR codes into their reopening strategies by placing them on each guest table. When a guest scans the code, it opens up a menu that they can order from directly on their device. The same technology can be applied to myriad other businesses. Once someone is ready to pay, they can use a QR code to enter payment details directly into their phone.

There are a few ways to make this happen. JotForm, for instance, lets you create an order form that you can share as a QR code. A business can present the QR code, and an order form with selectable options will come up on a customer’s device. The form can integrate with payment options like Square, PayPal Commerce Platform and Stripe for secure processing.

Discouraging cash is antithetical to everything we’ve been taught about the best ways to receive remittance, but these are different times. And cash is downright dirty.

Even before COVID-19, cash had an unclean reputation. It reportedly carries more germs than an average household toilet; is more likely than not to have trace amounts of cocaine; and is full of dog spit, acne agents, food and who knows what else.

There’s a history of getting rid of dirty paper money during outbreaks. The only difference is that there were few alternatives for payments during the time of the Spanish Flu, various smallpox outbreaks, cholera in the 1800s and others.

That’s not the case today. If your business has relied on cash in the past, there’s never been a better time to integrate safer, more efficient systems.

Going contactless doesn’t have to be difficult. For the most part, the changes can be helpful well after the pandemic is over. Whether you’re implementing new technology or tightening your policies, it’s all about making customers feel like your business is a place where they can safely spend their money without worrying about infection.

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