Contactless payments are now a ‘must have’ rather than a ‘nice to have’ but with so many automated services on the market, where do you start? Ask the right questions to find the right solution for you and your customers. Rob Crutchington shares his quick and easy 5-point guide.

Since Coronavirus tightened its grip around the world, the number of transactions being conducted online or over the phone and the demand for automated payments has rocketed in contact centres and customer service operations. With so much choice, procuring the right payment system can be a tricky business but it needn’t be if you ask the right questions. Here are the five essentials of an automated payment solution.

1. What type of automated payment solution should I purchase?

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes:


Freedom to self-serve

If the majority of your customers are happy to self-serve but your contact centre operates standard business opening hours, Interactive Voice Response Payments (IVR Payments) are a good option. They allow customers to make secure payments from anywhere at any time simply by entering their debit or credit card data via touch tones on a telephone keypad.


Be inclusive, be kind

For more complex payments and to welcome vulnerable or older consumers who may feel embarrassed when they cannot use traditional automated payment systems and prefer the human touch, Agent Assisted Payments are ideal. Customers tap in their card details while remaining in conversation with the agent throughout the transaction. Meanwhile, agents get real-time feedback on their screens, such as bank authorisation codes, but they do not see any sensitive card details.


Cultivate the smartphone generation

According to Statista, although 49% of consumers are using contactless payments for weekly in-store purchases, 43% do not trust contactless payments via mobile(i). It’s time to set the record straight with the latest Pay by Link solutions that allow organisations to create and send customised payment links directly to their customers’ inbox. This makes it easy for customers to pay when checking their emails on their computer or their smartphone. Customers can pay at their own convenience using a previously stored card or they can submit new details in a non-intrusive way, while one-time passcodes provide an extra, reassuring layer of security.

2. What about PCI DSS compliance?

While technology itself cannot be Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliant, the solution chosen can go a long way to de-scoping or taking a contact centre out of the scope of PCI DSS. Therefore, the technology partner selected to provide automated payment solutions should be a Level 1 PCI DSS accredited supplier. If they are, you can be sure they have undergone a thorough evaluation of their processes and internal guidelines and can rely on their technology to deliver with absolute confidence. Working with a PCI DSS accredited supplier can also significantly reduce the time, cost and resource it takes your own company to become PCI DSS compliant.

3. Can the solution integrate with my other systems?

The best solutions are independent of carrier, telephone and CRM systems so they interface effortlessly with your existing contact centre infrastructure and processes. Clever integration means having one single solution that facilitates real-time reconciliation of payments and maintains ‘business as usual’ contact centre operations – even when the majority of agents are working from home – to deliver seamless transactions and a joined-up customer experience.

4. Can I trust the solution to be calm in a crisis?

During the COVID-19 health crisis, dramatic spikes in call volumes and rapidly shrinking or home-working agent teams have underlined the importance of adding agility to customer service operations. Busy contact centres can rely on automated payment solutions to simplify the payment process, deflect time-consuming calls away from the contact centre and shave pounds off squeezed budgets all while maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty.

5. What should I look for in a technology partner?

Rather than choose a vanilla software vendor which may sell you a solution and leave you to it, consider a partner that will work with you throughout the entire process and has a track record to prove it. From aligning payment technology to your specific infrastructure, business and customer needs to educating and advising your organisation on compliance issues, the best vendors offer a truly consultative service.