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Contactless Is the Future of Payments

Customer using mobile phone to tap to pay
Article Highlights:

  • Consumers are gravitating to a more convenient digital future.
  • Contactless payments are a permanent improvement to customer satisfaction.

For all the negative disruption COVID-19 has created for automotive retailers, it’s also had one interesting side effect: speeding up the rate of technology adoption.

Out of necessity, dealers have had to fast track implementation of digital and remote solutions and services that make for a safer car-buying and servicing experience. It doesn’t hurt that those solutions also represent lasting improvements that boost customer satisfaction by emphasizing convenience and transparency.

Contactless payments are a perfect example. True, this technology was already available in many areas of our lives for years before the pandemic: airline tickets, parking meters, sports stadiums, subway systems, and even some grocery stores.

But automotive retailers, and even a significant chunk of consumers, have been slower to adopt.

Not anymore.

During the first half of 2020, 38 percent of all wearable devices (mainly prominent in watches and fitness trackers) had mobile-payment functionality via near-field communication (NFC) technology, with the number expected to approach 50 percent by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, one survey found that 26 percent of respondents expect to use less cash following the pandemic when compared to before, while 27 percent say they expect to use credit and debit cards more often.

And, among those who have adopted contactless payment as their new normal, 74 percent said they would continue to use the technology post-pandemic. In other words, once people become familiar with contactless payment, they like it.

Finally, we know from our own data that injecting convenience into the car-buying process makes a real difference.

Put it all together and a clear picture emerges: Consumers are gravitating to a more convenient and transparent digital future, and contactless payments in the dealership are a no-brainer. It’s a permanent process improvement you could implement right now to start making a difference in customer satisfaction and, ultimately, your bottom line.

The Benefits of Going Contactless

How, specifically, do contactless payments improve your business? There are four key benefits:

  • It’s safe. We should assume, even in a post-COVID society, people are generally going to be more conscious of public health concerns. When it comes to one’s personal hygiene, contactless is inherently safer than any other payment option.
  • It prioritizes the customer. Nothing communicates “We take you and your time seriously” to your customers like speeding up a step in the car-buying or servicing process. Contactless payments can take as little as 10 to 15 seconds, much faster than cash and even chip-enabled cards, which can take 30 to 45 seconds.
  • It’s convenient. It’s worth stating again – the more convenient, flexible, and transparent your dealership processes are, the better. Contactless payments come in all forms – some of which the customer doesn’t even have to be present in your store to complete a payment, such as online or text. It’s all about catering to your customer’s lifestyle and giving them options on how to pay. Having a customer-centric reputation only does good things for your business.
  • It’s secure. You might assume a digital payment is less secure than a payment made on a chip-enabled card, but contactless payments are encrypted wireless communications. They’re very safe, meaning you’re not losing any functionality or risking any security measures by switching to this faster and more convenient option.

Another feature of contactless payments is that it isn’t limited to a single method of delivery. Various forms of implementation include paying via your website, text message, mobile device, a tap-to-pay option, or even Bluetooth.

This flexibility once again emphasizes customer convenience above all. By presenting so many options, you meet them on their terms while still delivering great service.

With the end of the pandemic on the horizon, automotive retailers will soon be faced with a choice: to go back to the old way of doing things, or to take the lessons of COVID to heart and turn them into opportunities for permanent improvement.

With contactless payments, your dealership has one such improvement ready to go, just waiting to be implemented. Are you ready for the future?

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Product Planning, Reynolds and Reynolds

Tim is a Product Planning manager at Reynolds and Reynolds for the ERA-IGNITE platform, Business Office applications, Document Archiving solutions, Networking solutions, and ReyPAY®.

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