Timely resources for sellers

5 Methods for Touch-Free and Remote Payments

Cindy Lewis, Editor-in-Chief
Square

As customers look to avoid touching surfaces, in some parts of the country businesses are also limiting in-person contact. Contactless payments—allowing you to take a payment without making contact with a shared device — and remote payment options might be top of mind for your business.

Here’s how you can implement a variety of methods for safer, touch-free contactless payments.

Take contactless payments

Contactless payments came from a need for more security than magnetic-stripe cards, which carry the information associated with your bank account right in the stripe. The benefit today is that they don’t require any physical contact between a customer’s smartphone or credit or debit card and your POS. When you accept contactless payments you can avoid passing payment cards back and forth.

How do contactless payments work?

Using radiofrequency, NFC allows devices (e.g. smartphones) to wirelessly communicate at close range to do things like process payments. A contactless payment reader allows you to accept mobile payments, like Apple Pay and Google Pay, in addition to other NFC payments or contactless payment cards.

How long do contactless payments take to process?

Typically, contactless payments take 1-2 business depending on when the transaction was processed. If contactless payments were accepted at 4 p.m. (typically when banks close), then it may not be processed until the start of the next business day.

Are there contactless payment limits?

There is still a limit on contactless card payments, but that limit has been increased recently. Beginning on 1st April 2020, contactless card payments spending limit increased from £30 to £45. If you have a Square Contactless and Chip and PIN Reader or Square Terminal, then the payment limits should have been increased automatically with the 16th April firmware updates. You can check out more information about the recent changes here. For Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay, there is no contactless limits.

Skip the receipt screen

Another point of interaction during checkout of touch free payments is dealing with receipts. This allows you to complete a sale without prompting a customer to enter their email address or phone number for a digital receipt, or printing a paper receipt. This feature can be helpful when you have to keep the line moving at peak hours.

Turn the skip receipt feature on in the signature settings within the Square app

Charge with invoices

Although you might’ve thought invoices were reserved for businesses that have clients and offer services, consider utilising them to charge for goods and bill item sales. Customers can pay you electronically, without having to interact with you or your POS in person. If you’re taking phone orders, invoicing is a great way to bill securely rather than collecting payment information over the phone.

Online and mobile invoicing allow you to send and manage invoice payments no matter where you are. You can accept contactless payments of invoices from customer’s phones or desktops with their debit or credit cards.

Take a look at customising your invoices for your small business, and get started implementing invoicing for your business.

Set up recurring payments

In addition to online and mobile invoicing, you might also consider implementing recurring payments from a card on file for a few contactless payment situations that usually you might bill for in person or with a physical contract, such as:

Charging for recurring services or fees
Billing for subscription deliveries or plans
Splitting costs for big-ticket items into multiple payments

Process recurring or subscription payments on a set schedule independent of your brick-and-mortar location, in accordance with a contract or retainer, or as part of a new business model if you’re transitioning into eCommerce.

Use a virtual terminal

Another option for card-not-present, over-the-phone, or other remote billing needs — you might be unable to access your payments hardware or have transitioned away from in-person payments altogether — is a virtual terminal. Hosted online, a virtual terminal turns your computer into a credit card terminal and allows you to manually enter and process payments from a web browser.

Square’s virtual terminal allows you to take payments without hardware or software, whether you want to manually take a payment, swipe on your computer, or schedule recurring quick-charge or itemised sales for repeat customers.

For another easy way to accept remote credit card payments, you can use Square Online Checkout to generate a simple online checkout link or button. Just create a link with your item name and a price, and share the link on your existing website, social media channels or in an email. Learn how to get started with Square Online Checkout.

As you consider remote and contactless payments for your business, you can find more from Square about additional resources and updates on Square products on our resource hub, which is updated frequently.