The firm is trying to convince more micro businesses to offer contactless payment options without the hassles of traditional POS terminals.

With the current need for cashless and digital payments, financial services firm Visa is calling on the payments industry to accelerate the availability of its cashless payment solutions in order to bring more micro and small businesses into the digital economy.

Its new Tap to Phone service enables sellers to accept Visa contactless payments directly on their own Android near-field communications-enabled (NFC) smartphones, without the need for a separate payment acceptance terminal.

Visa asserts that it has new research to prove there is demand. Between 16 and 20 July 2020, it commissioned a study among 6,832 adults ages 18+ in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan, and has found that the majority (55%) of Asia Pacific region (APAC) consumers would likely use such payments, despite solutions not yet being widely available in the region.

Consumer interest is strongest in Malaysia (64%), followed by Taiwan (62%), Hong Kong (62%), and India (55%). The research suggests that consumers will embrace this new form of the contactless payments they are already accustomed to using.

Said Chris Clark, Regional President, Asia Pacific, Visa: “APAC has led the world in adopting contactless payments, which now account for around 44% of face-to-face Visa transactions in the region, climbing to over 70% in a number of key markets. The consumer experience with Tap to Phone payments is very similar, including the security features. Instead of tapping your card, phone or smart device on a point-of-sale terminal, you tap on the seller’s Android smartphone to pay. For the seller, this means they can accept digital payments without having to get a separate terminal. For micro and small businesses, Tap to Phone is a cost-effective way to accept Visa and enjoy the benefits of digital commerce.”

In countries where the power supply is less reliable, retailers can benefit from battery-powered smartphones instead of a stationary point-of-sale device.

Digital convenience with a tap

In addition to simplifying point-of-sale infrastructure for businesses, tap-to-phone payments bring benefits to consumers, said the study. Of consumers surveyed, ease of use was rated as the top reason that would encourage them to try the NFC feature (52%). This was followed by saving time (51%) and eliminating the need to carry cash (50%), while 43% had rated security as a factor that would encourage their adoption of tap to phone payments.

However, Visa believes there is a need for the industry to work together to educate consumers about security features. Losing personal or financial information were named as the top concerns around using tap to phone. Tap to Phone solutions bring multiple layers of security for the buyer and seller, to ensure that high standards for secure payments are met.

Each solution undergoes an intensive certification process including a security assessment by an accredited expert security lab. These solutions are also supported by an industry standard that has been developed and published by the PCI Security Standards Council.

Popular cashless payment settings

Visa’s research also looked at where consumers would be most likely to pay via an NFC payment channel. Convenience stores were cited by 59% of survey participants, reflecting the desire for quick, easy transactions. Over half (56%) said they would want to be able to pay at a restaurant while seated at the table. Food courts, street stalls and kiosks were the third most popular venue at 52%.

“For these businesses, speed and convenience in serving their customers is a priority. (The feature) is a new option for these businesses to consider, especially if they’re not yet accepting digital payments. In light of the consumer demand and opportunity for businesses, Visa is collaborating with our partners to bring more of such solutions to APAC,” said Clark.

Visa has certified nine technology providers such as Samsung, and is partnering with many acquirers and fintechs to bring solutions to market, having launched Tap to Phone solutions in Malaysia and India, with more APAC markets to follow.