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Small Business Contactless Transactions Are up Nearly 300% Since the Start of the Pandemic

CardFlight, an SaaS payment technology company, have released the CardFlight Small Business Report, analysing how small businesses have adapted after one full year of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The data offers insights into changes in consumer behaviour as they embraced low- and no-touch forms of payments at over 70,000 small businesses in all 50 states using CardFlight’s SwipeSimple software to accept credit and debit card payments.

Key findings include:

  • Contactless tapped transactions at the point of sale are up 296.4% from the pre-pandemic baseline week of March 2-8, 2020.
  • Invoice-based payments are up 279.3% since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • Card-on-file transactions also saw significant growth to 246.4% above baseline.

“One year ago, as social-distancing guidelines were enacted across the US, there was great uncertainty as to the survival of small businesses who depend on local customers,” said Derek Webster, CardFlight Founder and CEO. “While most industries have been deeply impacted, we’ve witnessed the fortitude and ingenuity of small businesses in our portfolio as they have used new technology to overhaul the ways in which they accept payments.”

Small Business Contactless Transactions Are up Nearly 300% Since the Start of the Pandemic

Food and drink merchants have seen the greatest growth in tapped transactions, up 477% from the baseline, as merchants have adopted lower-contact forms of payments. For services businesses, overall transactions are up 20%, but there has been a pronounced shift in how they collect payments. Invoices, on file, and tapped transactions are up over 150%, while traditional card-present transactions (dipped and swipe) are down by at least 5% as of the end of March.

Additional insights into small business recovery include:

  • Despite clothing and apparel retail sales dropping 74% in April 2020, one year later this vertical has experienced the greatest rebound, now at 144% above the pre-pandemic baseline.
  • While sales at entertainment and recreation services (like dance studios and fitness clubs) dropped 53% in April 2020, they rebounded quickly by moving to virtual programs and ended the year at pre-pandemic levels among SwipeSimple merchants.
  • Sales at Specialty Food Stores held steady in April 2020 and grew throughout the year as merchants turned to delivery and meal prep packages, ending the year 112% above the baseline.

“By analysing this data weekly, we have witnessed merchants seek ways to remove the physical aspects of payment acceptance so that their customers and employees feel safe,” Webster continued. “One-year later, SwipeSimple payment volumes and active merchants have grown, and we see small merchants expanding the ways in which they accept payments. If in early 2020 a merchant accepted payments only at a face-to-face point of sale, that merchant is likely accepting payments in new ways today – from tap to pay at the point of sale or methods involving no physical touchpoint at all like invoicing and card-on-file.”

The CardFlight Small Business Report, which has been published weekly since March 19, 2020, monitors and tracks changes in consumer payment behaviours. 

To create this weekly report, CardFlight analysed a representative sample of tens of millions of payment transactions, processed by over 70,000 small businesses in all 50 US states using CardFlight’s SwipeSimple software to accept credit and debit card payments.

Author

  • Francis is a junior journalist with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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