The spread of COVID-19 around the world has already proven its significant impact not only in terms of health but also regarding the world economy. People in a wide number of countries are forced to practice social distancing, businesses of all sizes are asked to pause or limit operations to prevent the spread of the virus and overall, the global economy is currently trying to survive a serious challenge.
Small and medium businesses are especially affected due to obstructions in distribution, payments acceptance and a lack of cash reserves, just to name a few. In an effort to continue offering their products and services under the present circumstances, many business owners and independent professionals have switched to selling via the web. As a result, the world of payments has witnessed dramatic changes over the past month, with an increase in online solutions and remote transactions.
In places where in-person payments are allowed, businesses are noticing an increase in contactless payments. This is no surprise given that Visa and Mastercard increased the contactless limits to their cards in order to help users reduce the frequency of face-to-face payments. Along with safety measures such as regular cleaning and disinfecting, businesses are also encouraging clients to use contactless payments where possible.
Another recent trend is the rise in the use of solutions allowing merchants and professionals to accept payments remotely. With the practice of social distancing, the majority of consumers throughout Europe prefer to shop online rather than visit physical stores or offices, where large groups of people can gather. During the first week after the official lockdown, the weekly growth rate of online home and leisure retail orders climbed by 200% in the UK. The trend in Europe shows quite a similar growth rate. This has pushed for a new wave of businesses adopting payment alternatives that support the current situation. 30% more e-commerce shops have been created in Europe over the past month in order to respond to the changing consumer behaviour and save business operations.
In addition, large organizations providing software or online resources that support business organizational processes, meetings, documentation, training and others have made their valuable assets free for a limited time period . This provides small and medium-sized businesses with an opportunity to continue working without additional expenses during these turbulent financial times.
Businesses accepting payments by email and SMS have increased with more than 160%
European payments provider myPOS is reporting more than a double increase in the number of merchants who are now accepting remote payments for the first time. Payment Request, PayLink and PayButton are examples of such instruments, which merchants use to accept card payments online even without a website.
With Payment Request businesses send personalised and unique links to every client for a specific payment amount. The link with the request for payment is sent through email, text message or basically any messaging application. Following the link, the clients can pay remotely whenever and wherever they are.
PayLink is a payment link with a defined payment amount that can be paid by multiple clients. The link is sent again via a range of channels, including email, SMS, LinkedIn, Facebook or any other chat application. The clients are then landed on a secure page where personal data and card information is collected to complete the payment.
On the other hand, PayButtons can be placed on Facebook pages, e-newsletters, and websites to encourage the customer to purchase a product or service and complete a safe and secure payment.
Online checkout activations have increased by 200%, reports myPOS
A dramatic increase in SMEs interested in online shopping carts solutions shows a clear trend in businesses transferring their efforts in the online space. This opens a new door of opportunities and truly changes the way business is currently shaped. After all, 40% of global consumers are spending more time on social media, meaning that businesses can easily target their desired groups via the web. The next and most important step is to adopt reliable and legitimate online payment tools that can support the process of online shopping.
myPOS is expecting to see more and more SMEs adopt ready-to-use remote payments solutions not just during the Covid-19 crisis but in the recovery period as well. Once small businesses experience the benefits of accepting payments online, it is unlikely that they will give up the opportunity to reach a wider audience and multiply their payment channels.