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Top Payment Solutions in a Post-Pandemic World

August 09, 2021
New digital payments post-pandemic
The global pandemic gave rise to new digital payment methods

How payment processes have evolved and how the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital payments.

The way consumers pay has changed dramatically since the start of the pandemic. Concerned over touching surfaces and banknotes, many consumers ditched cash and turned to digital payment options and other forms of contactless payment. A study conducted by the National Retail Federation revealed that one-in-five consumers surveyed made a contactless payment in store for the first time since the onset of COVID-19. Of those, 62% used their phone and 56% used a contactless card to make a purchase. Additionally, about 57% of consumers said they would likely continue using contactless payments after the pandemic ends.

As the global payment industry evolves, merchants can benefit by adopting new technology to stay current and keep up with the changing consumer preferences. Take a deeper look at how the global pandemic has spurred the adoption of new payment methods and trends in the U.S. and beyond in the following Reach Further stories.

1. The evolution of payments

Society has come a long way since when physical currencies in the form of coins and paper money first emerged in 700 B.C. China. And while paper checks appeared in Holland by the 1500s, the evolution and variety of payment systems only really took off in the late 20th century with the arrival of debit and credit cards, and the accelerated growth of card payment technology that followed. Fast forward to modern day, and we have a wide range of ways to process financial transactions, from smart terminals, to paying by smartphones. Read more about how payment processes have changed in our lifetime and what it might look like in the future at From Gold Coins to Digital Wallets: The Evolution of Payments.

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2. Contactless payments

Contactless payments, also known as tap-and-go and tap-to-pay, is done by tapping a payment card or other device near a card reader equipped with contactless payment technology, without the need to swipe, enter a PIN and/or sign for a transaction. This convenient way to pay enables customers and retailers to conduct seamless, fast, secure, and socially distanced transactions, and usage of such payments has soared in the last year and a half due to COVID-19. Learn more about what contactless payments entail, the benefits and the considerations of touchless transactions, and how merchants can adapt to a new payment landscape at Contactless Payments: Retail’s New Normal.

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3. QR codes

Quick response (QR) codes, which are barcodes that store information that can be read by a digital device, can be used for web links, document access, product identification, loyalty programs and payments. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the usage of QR codes, especially in the restaurant industry, and more merchants and consumers are using QR payment technology for the myriad of benefits and convenience it provides. Learn more about how QR codes help businesses be more efficient by increasing customer engagement, providing a convenient way to pay and serving as a powerful marketing tool at Streamlining Digital Payments with QR Codes.

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4. WeChat Pay and Alipay

WeChat Pay and Alipay together comprise 94% of the market share in China, a country whose digital payment systems and mobile wallets are among some of the most sophisticated in the world. For businesses outside of China that may be looking to tap into its more than 1.4 billion potential consumers for whom mobile phone payments are the norm, having WeChat Pay and Alipay integrated could provide a crucial competitive edge. Learn more about how integrating WeChat Pay and Alipay help businesses stand out and gain new customers at How WeChat Pay and Alipay Can Strategically Grow Your Business.

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5. Mobile wallets

A mobile wallet is a digital version of your actual wallet. It can hold credit cards, tickets, coupons, or rewards card information. Mobile payments made by phone (such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay) and other wearable devices are growing by double digits annually, with mobile payment transactions expected to surpass $161 billion this year. The benefits of mobile payments include faster checkout that is completely touchless, which results in a better experience for customers and staff, along with increased data security. Learn more about how businesses can accept mobile payments and grow at Pay by Phone: The Power of Mobile Wallets for Merchant Payments.

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6. Smart terminals

Smart terminals, also known as point-of-sale (POS) machines, allow merchants to swipe, insert or enter debit and credit card data for faster and more convenient checkouts. Many of these terminals also allow for nearfield communication (NFC) transactions that authorize contactless tap-and-pay options. But smart terminals are more than just a payment processing tool: they can help run the entire business by providing everything from data analytics to appointment bookings. Learn more about why more merchants are using smart terminals and how they can add value to businesses at How the “Smart” in Smart Terminal Can Help Run Your Business.

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To speak with the East West Bank Merchant Services team, click here.