How in person businesses can cut down on touch points during checkout

If your business is still open for in person transactions during the coronavirus outbreak, there are numerous options to help reduce the spread of germs.

One of the best ways is to encourage customers to switch to contactless payment options such as Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Android Pay.

Although sometimes referred to as needing a “tap” to work, these payment methods use NFC technology that doesn’t actually require direct contact with the users’ device and payment terminal — such close proximity.

Using these options eliminates the need for your staff to handle a credit or debit card (or cash) and hand it back to the customer.

As an added bonus, most contactless payment systems offer increased security over a swipe or even “dips” since they may require biometric authentication.

For businesses offering curbside pickup, look for portable readers that allow for both swipes, dips or taps, as available, that staffers can take with them out to vehicles (consider assigning one device per staffer per shift and be sure to clean them regularly).

Another good option is to allow customers to prepay online with credit or debit cards.

Other changes to the POS process could include removing the requirement for a digital signature or one on the receipt, if this is allowed by your payment providers.

If possible, you can also consider updating your payment process to require the cashier to ask if a transaction should be processed via debit or credit rather than requiring the customer to make the choice.

Customers should, for security and liability purposes, still be required to enter their own PIN if they opt for debit — don’t switch this over to having customers say it out loud and having cashiers enter it for them.

Another option, if possible, is to increase the threshold that requires a PIN, though this will vary greatly depending on your system and financial institutions.

In addition, switching to digital receipts — or asking customers if they want a printed one at all — is another good way to reduce touch points. If you can’t “turn off” the receipt printing option, be sure to provide a garbage can with bag for cashiers to toss out receipts.

Keep in mind that receipts can sometimes contain enough information to steal someone’s identity so skipping printing the receipt or offering a secure disposal method if possible is ideal.

While going cashless is another more obvious way to reduce transferring germs, keep in mind that some say that not accepting cash can be biased toward certain demographics. The practice has also been challenged in courts.

A possible alternative is to encourage customers to use contactless payment methods over cash, but still accept it when a customers wants it.

If your business has credit or debit card minimums (which typically isn’t allowed by card companies anyway) consider removing it to encourage more contactless processing. If, however, you are not set up to take contactless payments, removing this requirement may not do much to reduce touch points.