Whilst the pace of innovation in smartphones and tablets has been frantic, in the last ten years the humble card payment terminal has remained static by comparison.
Payments, like everything, are changing fast. Tony Nash, Managing Director of Lloyds Bank Cardnet takes a look at technological changes and how smaller businesses may be missing out.
A familiar sight in shops, cafes, hotels, petrol stations and dental surgeries, the solid, reliable payment terminals may have evolved over time, to take contactless payments for example, but they aren’t able to offer much more in terms of management information or building customer loyalty.
Things are changing rapidly though. At Cardnet, we’ve recently introduced Clover TM, an intelligent point-of sale-system that’s like a smartphone for running a business, delivering a wide array of tools to help businesses operate more efficiently. Adding contactless may have been evolution for traditional payment terminals, but Clover is a revolution, a genuine step-change.
Small and medium businesses (SMEs) are the lifeblood of the British economy and they face multiple challenges. The volume of admin consistently comes out as one of the key frustrations for SME owners. It’s hard work running a small business, but Clover can help reduce the admin burden.
Clover provides access to ‘big data’ and smarter payment technology. It uses cloud-based software with a bespoke app store, giving small business customers much greater functionality than a traditional terminal. Clover Insights allows business owners to make the most of their transaction data and ultimately access the kind of insight normally associated with major high street or online retailers.
The 100-plus apps available in the Clover App Market are designed to suit all types of businesses, allowing owners and managers to not only accept payments, but also track sales and inventory, monitor staff performance and reward customer loyalty. So if you want to thank a customer for regularly paying for a periodical or buying a burger, Clover can help you.
Businesses can even manage their social media channels through the Clover devices or print off games to keep restless children occupied in a restaurant or waiting room.
And with consumer behaviour changing rapidly, smaller businesses need to adapt too. Our own research last year showed that over half (53%) of the UK’s micro-businesses (with 9 or fewer employees) still weren’t accepting card payments at all. As UK consumers make increasing use of contactless payments, either by traditional plastic, smartphone or smart watch, these businesses could really be missing out on grabbing a slice of the estimated £80 billion per year taken on cards by micro businesses.
In fact, research by the UK Cards Association (now part of UK Finance) showed that payment cards were used for 77% of all retail spending in the UK last year. And the average value of spend on a card is falling, showing consumers’ increasing preference for using cards instead of cash for lower value payments1. We are not far from a time where a business not taking card payments will be a real turn off for customers.
So for those businesses, perhaps it’s time that they began accepting card payments. An old-style payment terminal will do a decent job, but as a small business owner, why wouldn’t you want to be in Clover?
1 The UK Cards Association – UK Card Payments 2017