There are multiple ways a business can accept touchless payments. All you need is a compatible reader, and you’re good to go. The hard part is deciding which system to choose.
Companies such as Square and Shopify offer contactless reader options, as well as other business tools such as inventory tracking and online store sites.
Christianne Mares opened Gelataio 8 years ago in downtown San Carlos, California, and has been using her Square system since the beginning. The gelato shop has consistently taken both cash and card, but things changed in 2020.
“Before the pandemic, I would say it was half-half but then nobody wanted to handle money. For a while, it was zero cash and now it’s getting back, maybe a third or a fourth of people pay with cash, and the rest with a credit card,” Mares said.
For Mares, the biggest benefit of the card reader is convenience.
“Handling cash, it’s a lot of work, Square reduces a lot of employee time counting money, making sure everything’s correct. It’s also time in the sense that I don’t need to go as often to the bank to make deposits,” Mares said. “And it’s safer not having as much cash in the store.”
Although the ability to accept touchless payments decreases the time spent on transactions, it increases the risk of losing profit. With every transaction, Square takes 2.6% + 10 cents out of the profit, which led Gelataio to adjust its prices accordingly.
Another downside Mares struggles with is contacting customer support.
“It’s very difficult to contact somebody if you have trouble, getting troubleshooting is almost impossible,” Mares said.
When White Sage Boutique started in July 2021, co-owner Sofia Kurt knew exactly what company she wanted to use: Shopify.
“I love shopping online, I think everyone did that a bit more during COVID, and I always saw at the bottom of most stores, it said ‘Powered by Shopify,’ so I kind of just kept that in the back of my head,” Kurt said.
Everyone’s getting those cards that have tap, so they tend to do that more than inserting a card.”
— Sofia Kurt
White Sage uses Shopify’s app in conjunction with its card reader to easily accept and process payments. The app helps to record transactions and works with the card reader to charge customers. Once the payment goes through, it gets transferred to Shopify, which deposits the money into a business bank account every few weeks.
One of the biggest benefits of Shopify is that it can be taken it on the go, as long as you have the app and a card reader. The only inconvenience is that it requires Wi-Fi to function.
“If we’re having a pop-up, we just take our iPad and the card reader. But if the Wi-Fi is down, it’s not a good time,” Kurt said.
Another benefit is that the card readers used in many businesses are compatible with just about anything. Whether on an EMV chip or through a mobile device, White Sage takes it all.
“Everyone’s getting those cards that have tap, so they tend to do that more than inserting a card,” Kurt said.
Overall, it’s clear that touchless payments are a trend that isn’t going away anytime soon. The ability to accept all payments is extremely beneficial to any business. After all, not everyone keeps their wallets on them, but they always have their phones.
“Sometimes people are just on a walk and they pop in. People love using their Apple Watch and they’re like, ‘Oh, do you take Apple Pay?’” Kurt said. “We profit more from it.”
Elizabeth Cruz is a sophomore at Carlmont High School and first-year journalist with Scot Scoop. Sheis one of the sophomore vice presidents and sits on the board for Carlmont Key Club. In her free time, you can catch her volunteering or in the student section of a Carlmont sports game cheering her friends on!