As of 2020, card payment machines have become more critical than they ever were before, and that is just an undeniable fact under the present circumstances. Before 2020, almost all large transactions in the UK were being completed via credit/debit cards, which has been the case for many years now, but the importance of having a quality card payment machine at even a tiny retail unit is more important this year because of the pandemic. As we elaborate more on the topic and the critical connection between the two, things will begin to make more sense soon.
How Covid-19 has Made Card payment Machines Even More Important for Businesses of All Sizes
The government, private sector, and even the general public is well aware of how the novel coronavirus spreads at this point, that is as far as public knowledge goes. This is good news since that knowledge can be crucial to limiting the spread of Covid-19 beyond what it is right now. As cash money is, by far, the most exchanged object that passes through multiple hands and is often a potent germ carrier, it is also suspected by many to be a possible cause for the spread of Covid-19 worldwide.
Now, it should be noted that there is no clear evidence that the virus can be spread via cash exchange, but there isn’t enough evidence to the contrary either. Paper Currency is just that; it is paper, and anyone who is infected by the coronavirus can potentially deposit the virus from their body and onto the currency notes they are handling without even realising it. Given that research shows the coronavirus’s ability to survive on paper surfaces can be as long as four days, it wouldn’t come as a major surprise if paper currency indeed turned out to be a potent cause behind the virus’s spread later on.
Public Opinion: What Consumers Believe Matters the Most to a Business
A large number of consumers are not willing to pay in cash or receive change, which is just how things are right now. They cannot be blamed for not wanting to pay in cash, given the situation and all. If at this point, a business is unable to produce a card payment machine for receiving the due payment via credit/debit card, that can lead to a whole series of problems such as:
- Loss of sales
- Gaining a bad reputation
- Catching and spreading Covid-19
- Conflicts with customers as they demand to be able to pay via card
- Permanent loss of customers
- People not being able to buy essentials and emergency supplies
The Offline Retail Industry is Already Suffering Huge Losses
Unless you also have an online business wing, chances are that your retail business has seen better years. To understand the gravity of the situation, we need to look back further into 2019. What a lot of companies do not realise is that 2019 was already a bad year for the retail segment as a whole, and particularly for offline retailers. In fact, it was the worst year ever in recorded history in the British retail sector.
As one can probably guess, this was primarily brought on by the Brexit deal and the uncertainty that surrounded the whole affair. This resulted in roughly 140,000 retail staff losing their livelihoods, as thousands of stores had to be shut down by their owners on account of bankruptcy, or just to keep their losses from leading them to bankruptcy. Now, take into consideration – the year 2020 is expected to be even worse since offline retail operations had completely ceased to operate for months during the initial lockdowns, and even now, they are operating with strict limitations. At a time like this, can any shop, store, or even a large retail chain really afford to refuse business to their customers because they do not have card payment machines? They cannot, and a good number of smaller businesses are finding out about it the hard way.
Choosing a Good Card Payment Machine and the Right Service Partner
To simplify things, let’s take the example of UTP Group Merchant Services, which is among the top names in the industry. If we were to take a closer look at the services they offer, as well as the in-built features that card machines from UTP Group come with by default, we should have a clear view of what to ideally we’d like to expect from the merchant service provider in the UK.
Being one of the only two service providers in the UK to work with Barclaycard bank, UTP Group has established itself as one of the most reliable names in this industry. They are also the sole owners of their Faster Processing technology, which allows funds from a transaction to appear on the business’s associated bank account in 24-hours or less. In most circumstances, the funds can also be made available in roughly 60 minutes. That way, as a business owner, you would not have to wait the usual 3-5 days for the money to appear on your bank account.
The best card payment machine providers have a UK based, well-trained customer support team to help local businesses out at any time and out of any issues that they might be facing with their card machine or any other linked services. This point in particular should be taken into account while choosing a merchant service partner, since good service can be hard to come by in the middle of everything that is going on right now.
As an additional method of payment, it would be particularly beneficial to both the customers and the merchants themselves if the card payment machine was a model designed to accept NFC payments (where the customer can pay via contactless technology). Everyone has a smartphone these days and having the ability to let customers use them for making payments can be a significant sales-boosting factor in 2020.
Small Businesses without a Merchant Service Need to be Careful Now
In their hurry to buy card payment machines, SMEs will often end up partnering with a poor merchant service provider. This is a huge possibility because the cheapest services often seem the most alluring. That is quite understandable under the given circumstances since these are trying financial times for traditional, offline businesses. Unfortunately, that can only lead to the business suffering further losses on account of:
- Slow funds processing and transfer speeds
- High rates of failure during payment
- Poor uptime (the number of hours a server operates smoothly for)
- The card payment machines repeatedly breaking down
- Terrible customer care
- Unreliable financial partners (the financial institution which processes the payment)
For reasons already mentioned, it is imperative that every UK business which did not accept card payments before, start doing so in 2020, and as soon as possible at that. However, choosing a merchant service provider is a bit tricky since the options are far too many. The facts we just discussed are universally available to everyone, including companies that provide card machines and the associated merchant services to facilitate cashless transactions in offline businesses. This means that they are also aware of the huge opportunities that they have to make sales during these trying times, and that is where the SMEs need to be careful while looking through their options.