Consumers Abandon Cash, Turning to Contactless & Unattended Payments Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

Trending Away from Cash

COVID-19 has impacted our world in many profound ways, including payment preference. One of the most widely adapted COVID-19 trends amongst consumers is abandoning cash. With heightened awareness that the virus can be spread via shared surfaces or through human-to-human contact, 80% of Americans prefer payment with a card, and only 26% consumer transactions in the US are paid with cash (spendmenot.com). This new attitude toward cash, as well as many Americans staying home, has caused a coin shortage in the US and Canada, affecting several traditionally coin operated industries like laundry (slates.com 2020). Of course, the world will soon return to normal, but certain behaviors and inherent concerns will remain. Knowing what we now know about transmission of viruses, the consumer mindset is forever changed with regards to cash. Sanitation will remain a greater concern in a post-COVID world, and distancing from unnecessary human-to-human interaction will remain top-of-mind.

Contactless payment options can eliminate those fears as consumers do not have to touch payment readers or even interact with other people. At KioSoft, we saw an increase of 78% within 5 months (August 2020 to February 2021) in our CleanPay Mobile payment app users, jumping to 1.6 million. CleanPay Mobile allows users to top up their balance on their phone and start their laundry cycles via QR code scan, so the payment process is completely contactless. Not only has the number of mobile payment app users increased significantly, but we have also seen heightened demand from laundry operators for our new contactless payment readers which offer flexible payment options including tap, swipe, Google Pay & Apple Pay and CleanPay Mobile.  This is largely because consumers are trending away from cash/coin and migrating toward contactless and mobile payments. 

Advantages of Contactless & Unattended Payments

As the name implies, contactless payments eliminate all forms of contact in the payment process. There is no human-to-human contact, entering PIN codes, swipe, insert or cash/coin.  Unattended payments do not require the presence of a store attendant. This “self-serve” concept is paving the future of the payments industry not just at gas stations and ATMs but also grocery stores, parking garages, public transit, vending machines and more. Not only do contactless unattended payments lower the risk of germ transmission, there are also many more benefits such as lowered overhead costs, transaction speed, reduced labor costs, increased customer satisfaction and the competitive advantage of Grab and Go (globalpaymentsinc.com 2019)

Overhead costs can be significantly lowered by implementing an unattended payment solution. Expand outside of brick-and-mortar locations with unattended payment kiosks and benefit from extended hours, a reduced footprint and managed overflow. By partnering with KioSoft, these unattended payment devices require no upkeep and can be both weatherproof and vandal proof for outdoor application. With unattended payment solutions, the entire consumer experience is self-serve, so the presence of a staff member is not required, thus saving on labor costs. In today’s fast-paced world, consumers are used to having everything at their fingertips and are always looking for convenient options when it comes to purchasing an item or service. Unattended payments have become a huge competitive advantage as consumers can essentially “grab & go” quickly and safely, instead of having to line up in stores and wait for the store attendant to serve them. Furthermore, unattended systems are accurate – as there is no potential for human error or verbal miscommunication.

The Importance of Connectivity & Reporting

With a presence in over 35 countries, KioSoft is a world leader in facilitating the growing trend of cashless & unattended payments. Major cities in China, for example, are almost completely free of cash purchases as approximately 92% of citizens have switched to the mobile apps WeChat and Alipay for payment (daxueconsulting.com 2020). This trend, though slowly adopted in North America over the last 5 years, has grown exponentially since the pandemic hit. Some of the key components in operating a business with cashless payments are connectivity and reporting. 

Unattended payment devices require a wireless connectivity infrastructure. The key elements are routers with combined Wi-Fi and cellular network connectivity. KioSoft offers complete wireless connectivity solutions that are crucial to the success of your business, making sure you are always up-and-running.

Reporting plays a large role in managing finances and consumer purchasing trends at your locations. With unattended payments, instead of counting coins at the end of the day, business owners can simply log on to their portal and see all the purchases made that day. KioSoft understands the need for unattended systems management via an intuitive portal interface. We provide our clients with secure enterprise portal access where not only can they view real-time financial data, but they can also view the machine status and troubleshoot any issues. Settings (such as pricing) can be configured remotely, across multiple locations. Our mobile applications provide customers payment capability, but also give them access to important information. They can easily view their purchase history, real-time machine status as well as request a refund or report an issue with a machine. Meanwhile, facility managers can view daily activity through the convenience of our industry-specific management apps. We recognize the importance of continuously improving, adapting, and developing technology to meet clients’ demands while offering ease-of-use to end-users

Bottom Line

The world has changed tremendously over the last year. Some of these changes, such as the migration to digital currency and unattended payments, are here to stay. With safety being of the utmost importance for today’s consumers, they are choosing to ditch cash and are transitioning towards contactless payments like tap or mobile wallet. Additionally, there is a growing demand for unattended payment systems that eliminate the need for potentially risky human interaction. Adoption will garner trust from your customers as a business that looks out for their wellbeing and caters to their needs. 

You don’t have to make this change alone – consider KioSoft your one-stop shop partner for the successful Integration of all things Unattended. We provide hardware, software, and support tools that are customizable to your environment. Access and control over your communication portfolio is vital. KioSoft also provides the tools and flexibility you need to properly manage your Wireless, and we have the vision to bring you more. No matter what your unattended application may be, KioSoft will provide you with a complete solution with more flexibility, better uptime, and instant access to vital information. Our powerful, unattended payment solutions include:

  • ​​EMV ​Chip, NFC, Mobile Wallet, and mag stripe payment acceptance (model dependent)
  • Branded mobile app payment solutions
  • Wireless connectivity for seamless transactions and telemetry to our reporting system â€‹
  • Focus on solutions that provide efficiency and cost effectiveness 

Contact us today to learn more.