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If you’re running a photography business in 2020 that isn’t using contactless payment, then you’re missing out on a ton of revenue without realizing it.
I understand this sounds a little harsh, but it’s the truth. We are living in a digital world and your photography business needs to keep up if it has any chance of surviving. When I talk to other photographers who aren’t using contactless payment for their photography business, the number one misconception I hear is that they’re worried contactless payment is too expensive for them.
Contrarily, it is too expensive for you not to consider other payment options for photographers. The up front cost is so minimal in the long run.
In this article, I’m going to explain what contactless payment is, what options you have for contactless payment, and why you should bother with it at all.
What, Exactly, is “Contactless Payment?”
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I think the biggest problem with photographers refusing to use contactless payment for their photography business is that they just don’t understand what it is.
That’s fair, because “contactless payment” is really three different types of payment. You can opt for a QR code payment, an NFC payment, or an MST payment. And, yes, I hate all of these acronyms as much as you do. Let’s start with a QR code payment since most people know what a QR code is.
A QR code is a little black and white box of code that gets unlocked by a person’s phone when they scan it with their phone’s camera. If you’ve been going out a lot during the pandemic in America, a lot of restaurants and bars have been using QR codes in lieu of menus in order to reduce the amount of stuff you need to touch. So, QR codes are not strictly used for payments.
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But, they can be used for payments, using one of two methods. The first is that your photography business can use an app that creates QR codes for each customer, then the customer scans that code to pay you. The second is that your client can create a QR code that has their payment method built into it. Of these two options, the first is much more popular because it requires your client to do less.
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Another contactless payment method your photography business can use is an NFC payment. If you’ve ever used an NFC payment before you’ve probably done so at a grocery store by tapping your phone to the card reader. You’ve also probably used an NFC payment if you’re from western Europe or have travelled there within the past few years. NFC payments are used for everything in western Europe, including public transit.
An NFC payment will only work for your photography business if a lot of your clients are technologically savvy, because it requires your customer to already have a mobile wallet set up that stores their credit card information. In order to read that wallet, you can simply buy an NFC-enabled card reader for your photography business.
The final type of contactless payment is an MST payment. MST payments are technologically very different from NFC payments, but for the purpose of your photography business, they operate essentially the same way. Your client holds their phone to your POS system and it automatically reads their card info.
MST payments definitely are not as popular as QR or NFC payments because they currently only work with Samsung phones.
What Contactless Payment Options Are There?
While all of the contactless payment options I outlined above are better than nothing, the easiest contactless payment option may simply be a secure link that you text to your customers.
My photography business uses Podium Payments, which is part of the larger Podium platform. Podium Payments simply creates a different secure link for each one of your clients that you text to them. Once your client receives this text, they can pay using a huge variety of means, like Apple Pay, Google pay, credit and debit cards, or a bank transfer.
I like Podium Payments because my clients who are more technologically savvy don’t have to enter their card info, but my clients who are less technologically savvy still have a more traditional option to pay me.
Plus, you can only get Podium Payments if you have the Podium platform, which I’ve talked about before and find incredibly helpful for my business. In addition to taking payments, you can easily interact with your clients because Podium allows you to quickly text clients and see different communication streams all in one platform.
However, you can also use PayPal’s QR code app, since PayPal is a generally trusted company here in the U.S.
Likewise, you can use Paysafe, which is an app that works like a portable POS. Paysafe is incredibly easy for business owners to set up, which is why it gained popularity so quickly. However, fewer clients will have heard of it, so you may catch yourself explaining it frequently.
What Are the Benefits of Using Contactless Payment Options?
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Unlike a lot of photography business tips, using contactless payment is actually beneficial for your clients. More than 40% of all Visa transactions outside of the U.S. are contactless, and while the U.S. has definitely been slow on this trend, it is quickly rising here as well.
But, contactless payment options are also safer and faster than traditional payment options. If you’re using a chip card, it takes around half a minute for your payment to go through. With contactless payment, this time is cut by a third. Contactless payments also keep your clients’ information safer. Traditional “swipe” card info is really easy to steal, but each contactless payment is coded to prevent fraud.
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Finally, they’re easy to offer, so why not? 70% of businesses in America already have a POS that takes contactless payment. If your photography business isn’t one of them, then it’s definitely time to catch up.
Plus, I haven’t even mentioned the fact that we are currently living through a global pandemic. 95% of consumers want companies to use physical protection measures. This is the best physical protection measure you can take, especially considering some alarming information about just how long the coronavirus lives on things like card readers.
There is no better time than the present.