Ryan Mullholland, marketing officer, EasyPay
In an era where the use of cash for everyday transactions is steadily declining, self-service payment kiosks are emerging as a pivotal solution that caters to the changing payment landscape. Recent reports highlight the remarkable surge in contactless payments and a shift toward cashless alternatives. This shift not only signifies changing consumer preferences but also presents an opportunity for businesses to adapt and provide the convenience that today’s society seeks.
The contactless payment boom
One prominent indication of the move towards cashless solutions is the substantial increase in contactless payments. According to UK Finance, contactless payments in the UK witnessed a remarkable 30% rise in 2022, with 17bn contactless transactions recorded. A staggering 87% of individuals in the UK are now using this technology at least once a month, reflecting the widespread acceptance of contactless payments.
Moreover, the average value of contactless transactions has seen steady growth, reaching £15.10 in 2022, up from £12.66 the previous year. This increase underscores the trust that consumers have placed in this payment method. With a gradual expansion of spending limits on contactless cards, from £10 to £100 over the years, the versatility and convenience of this payment option have become increasingly evident.
With all this in mind, it is integral that UK businesses adapt to the change. It’s clear that consumers are moving towards a cashless society, because of its speed as well as its convenience. People are visiting cash machines less than ever, perhaps because they enjoy the convenience of having all their money at their fingertips, or potentially it’s because of the decreasing amount of banks and ATMs on high streets. Whatever the cause, B2C companies must take note.
The impact on businesses and government entities
For businesses and government entities, this cashless evolution holds both challenges and opportunities. One notable example is the decision of Rother District Council to transition its pay and display machines to accept only card payments, starting from March 2024. This move aims to reduce operational costs and minimise the council’s carbon footprint, as cash collection processes contribute to unnecessary emissions.
As the council’s contract with coin collection services is due to expire, this decision not only aligns with the broader shift away from cash but also reflects a commitment to sustainability. It’s clear that businesses and public institutions are reevaluating their payment methods to optimise efficiency and meet the evolving demands of a cashless society.
The role of self-service kiosks
In a world where convenience is key to customers and sustainability is important to businesses, self-service payment kiosks fulfil these roles perfectly. Kiosks are a one-stop shop for customer information, promotion and payment solutions. The vast majority of transactions for most businesses are simple: purchase goods, a service, or admission to an event. Self-service payment kiosks are more than equipped to handle these requests, freeing up staff to deal with more complex queries. This improves customer satisfaction overall, as every customer feels dealt with more quickly; no more bottlenecks as the three available cashiers are dealing with complicated requests while everyone else waits.
What’s more, companies can opt to display whatever they choose on a kiosk – whether that’s useful information, wayfinding features such as maps, or promotional offers and upsell opportunities. The fact that a staff member isn’t handling every transaction, doesn’t mean the customer has to miss out on what’s available to them.
In addition, contactless payment kiosks are sustainable for more reasons than the lack of carbon used during cash collection runs. They are designed from the ground up to be energy efficient, using much less power than traditional manned service points that deal with payments, and their connection with the internet means that the vast majority of issues can be dealt with remotely.
Contactless payments and cashless transactions are becoming the norm and self-service kiosks are proving to be invaluable tools for businesses and government entities. They cater to the changing preferences of consumers and align with the broader trend toward more convenient and efficient payment methods. As cash continues to take a backseat in our daily lives, embracing self-service kiosks becomes not just a competitive advantage but a necessity for staying relevant in a rapidly evolving payment landscape.