Contactless payments at small businesses served by point-of-sale technology provider CardFlight Inc. soared 296% in the past year, according to the payments provider’s latest Small Business Report.
The report, initiated a year ago at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, also found that overall sales at small businesses increased 56% over the pre-Covid baseline. The report analyzed transaction data from more than 70,000 small businesses that use CardFlight’s SwipeSimple software.
Contactless payments, whether made with a dual-interface card or mobile phone, compared to the week of March 2, 2020, hit the 296% growth mark in the week of March 8, 2021. Expectations are that this change will persist following the cessation of Covid countermeasures.
“We believe that these behavior changes are highly likely to stick throughout the rest of 2021 and beyond,” Derek Webster, CardFlight founder and chief executive, tells Digital Transactions News in an email. “During the pandemic, merchants and consumers learned new behaviors, and trends that were already taking place got accelerated. For example, more cardholders have now experienced the convenience of ‘tap-to-pay’ payments and know to be on the lookout for the acceptance symbol in the future. And small-business owners have modified how they take payments to include both card-present and card-not-present workflows. Most small-business owners that started accepting payments in multiple ways are unlikely to switch towards accepting payments in fewer ways.”
Some merchant categories saw even greater growth in contactless payment. Food-and-drink businesses experienced a 477% increase in contactless transactions compared with the pre-Covid volume.
Dipped transactions are now 27.8% greater than the pre-Covid baseline, though in mid-February they had a 4.9% decrease, likely because of widespread weather issues.
These changes in consumer behavior have been a boon for New York City-based CardFlight, Webster says. “Our dollar volume of payments processed is up more than 50% from last year’s pre-COVID peaks,” he says.
The lesson is that payments providers need to offer more ways for merchants to accept payments, Webster says, with software-led interfaces, workflows, and tools that are simple and effective. “Those who do [this] are going to pick up market share, and those who don’t are going to steadily lose their customers,” he warns.