Wireless technology has become pervasive in all aspects of our lives, and is now making significant inroads in the world of payments. Maltese consumers have started to experience the benefits and convenience of contactless payment technology, with most banks in Malta starting to issue contactless cards. Bank of Valletta is at the forefront of this transformation, with a programme that sees all chip-and-pin cards being replaced with contactless over a period of 12 months. The Bank is also actively replacing card payment terminals at merchants and retail outlets with versions that accept contactless.With additional functionality, this new generation of contactless cards offers benefits for the cardholder. Customers make payments simply by touching their card to a payment terminal. Once the card has been touched to the terminal, a little antenna reads the signal from the card and processes the payment. Payments of up to €20 for Visa and €25 for Mastercard can be processed without having to enter the PIN. Contactless payments spell benefits for the merchants as well. It is estimated that a contactless payment transaction is 60% faster than cash and conventional cards, resulting in shorter queues at the cash point. The card also lends itself to increased sales, as customers no longer need to limit their expenditure to cash at hand, regardless the payment amount. As with all card payments, the risks to the retailer are lower than other payment types since no cash is exchanged at the till.Bank of Valletta offers added benefits through the option of cash-register integration. With this service the cash register at the cash-point can be linked to the BOV card payment terminal. Thus, an amount keyed-in on the cash-register is automatically displayed on the card payment terminal, ready for payment. Cash register integration makes contactless payments even faster and safer. Thus the cashier does not need to deal in cash or key in the amount twice. With summer fast approaching, venues that see a high number of payments in a relatively short span of time stand to benefit greatly from this innovation. Another option is the use of wireless card payment terminals. These terminals rely on either Bluetooth or GPRS technology to offer card acceptance mobility. Whether serving drinks round the pool, or accepting payments at the coffee bar, contactless payments in these situations aid productivity and reduce waiting time. Successful businesses know that a good customer experience means providing as much convenience as possible. Bank of Valletta card acceptance services have been designed to make the merchant’s experience as positive as that of card owners, enabling the merchant to be more efficient whilst opening new opportunities for additional business.
Mr Ivo Camilleri is
Executive – Electronic Banking at Bank of VallettaPublished on The Commercial Courier - Issue 78