Garage Watch Interactive

The home of IFM Independent Forecourt Magazine

Contactless Payments: A Revolution in Forecourts and Garages

BRITAIN’S forecourt traders have helped drive the 2015 revolution in contactless technology to more than £2.5 billion in the first half of this year, according to the UK Cards Association.


With high volumes of lower value transactions, the sector is now adopting “tap-and-go” as the quick and easy payment choice for countless customers.


Drivers refuelling petrol stations or picking up a coffee on the way to work are embracing the speed of contactless, coupled with the fact that it has slashed the time they have to wait in long queues.


The increase in the limit for contactless payments from £20 to £30 that took place on the 1st September is set to accelerate the acceptance and usage of contactless payments even further – particularly in sectors where the average transaction value hovers around the £25 mark, according to the UK Cards Association.


Many small business owners might not be aware of the new £30 limit, but more and more customers expect the option in cafes and pubs and now want to see it at their petrol and service stations too.


Research we conducted last year found 31% of UK consumers are irritated by how long it takes to pay while a further 65% said they would not visit the same place again if forced to wait a long time.


New research from Deloitte has also confirmed that younger people in particular are increasingly embracing mobile payments, with a third of 18-34-year-olds preferring it to more traditional methods.


Already big high street names, including Boots and M&S Simply Food, have signed up to contactless payments along with transport providers including Stagecoach.


Thinking about adopting contactless? Read our guide on the things you need to consider to get the most out of the technology:


1. If your business takes a high volume of payments under £30, and you’re struggling to keep queues down during peak times, the answer is yes.

2. Think about how to make it as simple to use as possible - for you and the customer. Have as few steps to pay as possible, so your customer doesn’t have to wait too long before they can tap their card to pay.

3. Check if your terminal can already take contactless. If it can, then all you need to do to get started is contact your payments provider and have it enabled. If your card machine is a bit older then it might not be capable of taking contactless payments, and you’ll need to swap it for a newer one which can.

4. Check your terminal supports the latest technical specifications for High Value NFC. A payments provider like Worldpay can manage all the compliance and specification needs for your business.

5. Promote contactless at the till. Card machine wraparound advertising has been effective for many UK retailers, but small businesses could consider placing prominent signs on the counter as well as in-store ads. The UK Cards Association has some great advice on how to promote contactless.

6. Train your employees. They need to understand the basics of contactless; the maximum value that can be used and security features. Your employees will play a vital role in telling your card-carrying customers they can also pay with contactless so they need to be positive about this option.


Ultimately, contactless is all about offering your customers the choice to pay the way they want to. It provides a convenience that makes your customers’ lives easier which should drive revenue up and keep your customers coming back.


Contributed by James Frost, UK CMO at Worldpay


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