Nearly 18 months into the Covid-19 pandemic, consumer usage of contactless payments continues to grow, according to the most recent CardFlight Small Business Report.
During the week ending July 18, contactless transactions increased 597.7% from the March 2020 baseline period. Contactless usage has been steadily increasing on a weekly basis since late May, with the exception of the week ending July 11, when usage increases dipped slightly to 538.7% compared to the baseline period. The weekly increase in contactless for the week ending May 30 was 500.5% compared to the baseline period.
“More and more physical cards now contain contactless capabilities, and cardholder awareness/interest in smart-phone-based contactless payments like Apple Pay continues to grow,” CardFlight Inc. chief executive Derek Webster says by email. “Consumers who have experience with it are starting to express a preference towards the ‘tap to pay’ simplicity, and merchants are more comfortable with accepting contactless payments. We expect this trend to continue and for contactless transaction counts to keep growing in the months and years to come.”
Card-not-present and card-present transaction volumes also rebounded during the week of July 12, increasing 12% and 9.5%, respectively from the week prior, according to the CardFlight report.
Compared to the baseline period in March 2020, card-not-present transactions grew 88.6% for the week ending July 18, while card-present transactions grew 82.9%. Growth in both categories slowed the week prior. growing 68.4% and 67% respectively that week from the baseline period in 2020.
By contrast, the corresponding increases for the week of June 28 were 95.2% for card-not-present transactions and 112.2% for card-present. “The week beginning 6/28 was the last week leading up to the July 4 holiday, a peak time for fireworks sales,” says Webster, who adds many seasonal pop-up stores, such as fireworks stands, use SwipeSimple. “Fireworks stands tend to have a very high number of transactions at a given location, but with a smaller average transaction size than SwipeSimple merchants as a whole.” CardFlight regularly surveys more than 75,000 small businesses that use SwipeSimple software for insights into ongoing sales performance.
Looking ahead, CardFlight expects small businesses to continue to find ways to meet consumers’ changing payment expectations as they are shaped by the ongoing pandemic and the emergence of the Delta variant that is causing the number of new Covid cases to spike and raising concerns that shelter-in-place orders may be reinstituted.
“Small-business owners have repeatedly adapted their businesses and their practices to match customer expectations and have found ways to keep operating—and in some cases even growing—their businesses,” says Webster.” I expect those businesses to keep their tenacity regardless of what happens with the next phase of COVID and its impact on the communities that the business owners operate in.”