By Chris Jones, Managing Director, PSE Consulting
In a global first, all the major UK acquirers have come together to show collective support for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and share their views on what businesses can do during the lockdown while protecting employees and maintaining social distancing. These top tips come from all the major UK acquirers/ISOs and are designed to help business who may not accept cards, or operate online understand their options to adjust how they accept payments
UK acquirers recognise their smaller business customers are facing an unprecedented set of challenges. “Whether you’re a business that has relied on face-to-face shops and you want help setting up a website, or you’re looking for advice on how to keep your business and its customers safe from fraudsters, we are here and ready to help,” commented Rob Cameron, CEO of Barclaycard Payments who process almost 40% of UK transactions.
The following best practice list is based on suggestions from senior executives from across the UK’s leading card acquirers. They are designedto help those who cannot open their doors as well as those who can still provide takeaways and deliveries. “It’s important that we work together to identify new ways in which customers can continue to trade,” says Pete Bettles, Global Payments’ UK & Ireland Chief Operating Officer. “We recognise that, for our customers, maintaining trade is critical both for cashflow and retaining consumers’ loyalty.”
1. Pay Online
Getting online, or extending your current website to take payments, has the advantage of tapping into a fast-growing area of the market both within the UK and abroad. If you have a website but don’t yet sell via this channel, many card acquirers such as Stripe or PayPal can get you taking payments within an hour.If you are not yet online there are services such as Shopify or WIX within which you can build your site and take payments.
Lola’s Cupcakes, a premium bakery with multiple outlets in South-East England, has completely repurposed its business during the lockdown. The company has worked with their payments provider Elavon to develop a new online buying process and transformed itself into preparing fresh grocery boxes for delivery within a 48-hour window.
Similarly, in the restaurant sector Paymentsense have just launched a service called BiteBack. This allows restaurants to put takeaway menus online and reuse existing in-store acquiring contracts. “With BiteBack we want to help business operate as a takeaway almost instantly and keep them trading as a result,” said Guy Moreve from Paymentsense.
2. Pay via Email
Emails can also be a useful way to take payments. Many card acquirers have products which allow you to embed a payment link into an email that presents a simple payment page with a value set by you. Emails can be generated after a customer has called, or after a visit to your website. The email should contain details of the order to allay any potential concerns about email phishing scams. This method also benefits from secure processing which can ensure the costs of any fraud are taken by the customer’s card issuer rather than you. “Through our ‘Pay By Link’ product we allow merchants to offer a simple and effective facility for consumers to pay remotely without the need to build a website,” says Pete Wickes, SVP Corporate at Worldpay by FIS.
3. Pay over the Phone
If you already have a payment device, one quick and easy solution is to take orders and payment over the telephone. This approach is particularly relevant for businesses whose customers may not be online or who have concerns about using cards online. “Most counter-top devices can be used to enter card details provided over the phone,” says Simon Stanford, SVP Small Business at Worldpay by FIS. Worldpay have been working with Aroma Coffee & Kitchen in Glasgow to turn their sit-in café into a delivery service. “The card terminal was activated remotely without us having to do anything. The next day we were up and running with telephone payments,” says Heather Gilchrist, the owner of Aroma.
This approach does have its downsides. Taking orders over the phone can be time consuming, there are additional fraud risks, and card details must always be typed directly into the terminal, never recorded anywhere else. However, acquirers can help mitigate these risks.
4. Use Social Commerce
Companies who have built up a following on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or other social media should consider allowing these customers to buy via these channels. Global Payments are launching an app that enables small businesses to take payments online through their social networks, but without the need to set up a separate website. “Our social commerce solution is a hugely relevant and easy way for businesses to leverage the reach and engagement of social networks in an engaging manner,” says Nick Corrigan, UK&I Managing Director & President at Global Payments.
5. Contactless for Takeaway
If customers are still able to come into your shop to take away food or essential products, you should use your existing countertop contactless payment device. This helps you to protect those working in stores and maintain social distancing in line with guidance. From 1 April 2020 the contactless limit of £30 was raised to £45 and Guy Moreve from Paymentsense points out “our data show the average purchase in segments such as hardware, pet or garden stores now falls within the contactless limits.” Encouraging your customers to use their Google Pay or Apple Pay also has the advantage of allowing them to make contactless purchases of any value rather than being constrained by bank card limits.
6. Payment on Delivery
These principles can also be extended to home deliveries. In this case a mobile terminal, or one linked to your mobile phone (called an mPOS) allows consumers to pay via cards on their doorstep. This can provide an alternative to cash where customers may have concerns about Covid-19 infections, or they have not been to an ATM recently. iZettle and Square are popular mPOS choices and Elavon is supplying mPOS terminals to help companies take payment upon delivery in the UK. “We are helping businesses find new ways to provide food, pharmaceuticals and other essential supplies to people at home and those who are isolated or vulnerable,” says Hannah Fitzsimons, President and Managing Director, Elavon Merchant Services, Europe.
7. Mobile Commerce
Many people in the UK are already familiar with using their phones to order their food or other essential products and services. While platforms such as UberEats or Deliveroo generate attractive volumes of customers, they can be relatively expensive. You should therefore ensure your website is easy to read on a mobile or you may want to consider creating their own app. “Mobile commerce is the fastest growing channel for retail and generates over 30% of revenues for some of our clients. The phone is becoming the most important customer engagement device because it is always to hand, even during a lockdown,” says Chris Jones, Managing Director of PSE Consulting who provide expert payments advice to both acquirers and merchants.
All of these measures offer a safer way to keep you trading and the economy moving. “Public health and safety during the pandemic remains the top priority,” says Dr Jonathan O’Keeffe, Chief Medical Officer at London Health Systems, an international occupational and corporate health consultancy. He adds: “The economy plays a major role in sustaining our health in the long term. Commercial enterprise and trade allow us to fund our health service and social care systems. Payment solutions that both support and respect the need for ongoing social distancing measures and facilitate cash flow to business are needed to enable us to resume productive, healthy lives.”
Background and Contact Details for Editors:
PSE Consulting has been working in the UK payments industry since 1991 providing expert support on making and taking payments. PSE provides advice across the payments acceptance landscape including for larger merchants looking to select suppliers and card acquirers looking to understand the needs of their smaller customers. For any questions please contact email@example.com
Barclaycard, part of Barclays Bank PLC, is a leading global payment business that helps consumers, retailers and businesses to make and take payments flexibly, and to access short-term credit. In the UK we process nearly £1 in every £3 spent using credit and debit cards, and in 2019 we processed over £272bn in transactions globally. We also partner with a wide range of organisations across the globe to offer their customers or members payment options and credit. For any queries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Elavon is a leading global payments company with more than 4,300 employees and operations in 10 countries. A subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB), Elavon provides businesses with the technology needed to accept payments from customers, whether they are shopping in stores, at home or on the go. Its platform is distinctive in that it is common across countries, making it easier for businesses to get their payment system up and running quickly and securely. For any questions, please contact Rebecca.Hackworth@elavon.com
To find out more about how our Social Commerce app can help your business please contact Alan Irwin, Head of Product Solutions UK&I Global Payments: email@example.com To find out more about Global Payments please contact Louise Pursglove, Head of Marketing UK&I Global Payments: Email – firstname.lastname@example.org. Call – (+44) 07778 128371. Or visit www.globalpaymentsinc.com/en-gb
Founded in 2008 by George Karibian and Jan Farrarons, Paymentsense is one of the fastest-growing fintech companies in Europe, and proud to be an industry game-changer. They currently supply card machines and e-commerce solutions to over 80,000 businesses in the UK and Ireland. Combining cutting edge technology, extraordinary customer support and unconventional thinking, they offer lower rates, better service and peace of mind to their customers. Their smart proprietary technology platform enables small businesses to process payments online, in-store and over the phone. Paymentsense has over 300 employees at their offices in London, Hull and Belfast. For more information visit www.paymentsense.com For additional information please contact email@example.com
FIS is a leading provider of technology solutions for merchants, banks and capital markets firms globally. Our more than 55,000 people are dedicated to advancing the way the world pays, banks and invests by applying our scale, deep expertise and data-driven insights. We help our clients use technology in innovative ways to solve business-critical challenges and deliver superior experiences for their customers. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, FIS is a Fortune 500® company and is a member of Standard & Poor’s 500® Index. To learn more, visit www.fisglobal.com. Follow FIS on Facebook Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter (@FISGlobal).
Worldpay by FIS: For details of Worldpay’s COVID response please see: https://www.fisglobal.com/en-gb/response-center/merchants/uk-small-and-midsize-merchants or contact Worldpay’s customer care on 03457 616263
Dr Jonathan O’Keeffe, MRCGP MBA, started London Health London Systems Ltd in 2017 after a 19-year medical career across 30 countries. He acts as an advisor to SMEs and large organisations including RBS, Seadrill and Google in the UK define their health system policies and priorities with emphasis on occupational health, digital strategy and infectious disease management. Dr O’Keeffe qualified at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and holds an MBA from Imperial College London. He can be contacted at Jonathan@healthsystems.london