UK contactless acceptance improves choice, convenience and security

Hand holding a contactless credit card across a counter up to a contactless point of sale terminal being held by another hand

New research shows operational and financial challenges are the biggest barriers to running a small business. A OnePoll survey of 1,000 small businesses found that lack of finance is the biggest obstacle, followed by late payments and “red tape”.1 Respondents felt these challenges impacted negatively on their cash-flow causing uncertainty and stress.

Technology can reduce the time burden associated for business owners managing their financial operations, improve efficiency, speed to payment and payment choice, to ultimately make their business more attractive to customers.

At Visa, we work with merchants to help small businesses accept and offer a multitude of different payment options through their merchant accounts to combat operational and financial challenges. Recent research has found 3,000 businesses a day are signing up to contactless payments2with many small businesses already experiencing the benefits of the technology.

Choice attracts customers

Customers increasingly want to be able to choose how they pay, depending on the most convenient method to them. This could well be card payment, or could be through a mobile wallet or in-app digital payment.

Contactless is a successful example of how a technology innovation can drive uptake of a different payment option. In the U.K. and Canada, contactless payments represent more than half of all in-person transactions.3 People are shifting to contactless because it offers secure, fast and convenient payments so it’s important businesses are able to offer this option alongside more traditional methods.

By offering a choice about how to pay, merchants can attract customers and lessen the chance of losing a sale if the customer does not have the right amount of cash to hand.

Payment automation enhances performance

By automating and simplifying payment processes where relevant, businesses also save time. Research has shown some of the  top reasons people start their own company are to work for themselves and to spend more time with their family.4 They plan to work fewer hours, but manual tasks such as counting cash, and keeping paper records of cash intake, chasing on invoices or IOUs, mean they may end up working an extremely long day.

Offering customers a choice of payment options drives efficiencies, allowing business owners to focus on strategic initiatives to ensure their company grows, rather than spending time on financial management tasks that make it hard to move the needle.

In fact, research has shown that three quarters of retailers who have introduced contactless payments are processing an average of 30% more transactions each day.5 The technology shortens the checkout process, reduces queue time, and ultimately makes for a more seamless customer experience.6

Contactless can improve cash flow

Digital payments aren’t just time efficient. Contactless, specifically, is cheaper than chip and pin once you’ve purchased the payment terminal.7 Contactless reduces transaction fees and the need to produce a receipt unless the customer requests one.8 Specifically, it reduces the unnecessary handling of large sums of cash, improves security by reducing the times cash is handled, and therefore exposed to potential loss, and digitally secures the payment.

In addition, accepting mobile wallet and contactless payments can improve cash flow as merchants receive the money into their account more quickly. Point of Sale providers are able to deposit the money earned in just 1-2 business days.9 For some small businesses, such as those within the mobile hairdressing business for example, digital payments mean less time chasing customers who did not have the right cash available and more time spent on growing their business.

Time to thrive

In building a company, business owners will face inevitable challenges. At Visa, we support small businesses by helping them use technology that will make payments fast, simple and secure, and ultimately, offer customers the choice that they desire.

With the ability to take contactless payments, not only can business owners automate time consuming processes and reduce manual tasks, they can spend their newly found time offering consumers a fantastic experience that sets their business apart from the competition and enables it to thrive.

Find out how Visa works with merchants here, and how you can implement contactless payment into your business here.


1 OnePoll research, commissioned by Iwoca, 2019:

2The FinTech Times, 2019:

3 Visa report,

4, research from Iwoca commissioned in May 2019,

5 Barclaycard research, 2017,

6 Barclaycard research, 2017,




Tag: Digital commerce