Are you ready to pay in a Flash?

In a recent press release, Canada’s largest petroleum company, Suncor or better known as Petro Canada, announced that they plan to implement and rollout INTERAC Flash to all their point of sale terminals and Automated Fuel depensers (AFD’s) in the upcoming months.  They are the first merchant to formally make this announcement with many more sure to follow as INTERAC officially launches their contactless product.

However, the introduction of INTERAC’s contactless product is the the 3rd to join the the contactless Canadian landscape and with the dismal acceptance the other two products currently have, one needs to wonder how this new brand will fair in the contactless space.

The reality, contactless transactions truly are more geared towards the INTERAC space than the others.  Think about which merchants benefit the most from contactless transactions.  It’s the high volume, low ticket merchants that need the speed of through put at the line ups to help get their customers through.  The lower ticket size is really geared towards INTERAC… because let’s face it… Canadians don’t like to pay for the medium double double on a credit card.

So take a look at your business.  Are your customers standing in line, waiting to pay because the time it takes to process transactions is lengthy?  Is it taking too long to enter in a PIN or sign a receipt or insert a chip card?   Are you losing customers because they’re abandoning their purchases in lineups?  Then imagine how quickly the line could flow if your customer only needed “flash” their Interac card or “tap” their MasterCard or “wave” their Visa card infront of a contactless reader?

If you think contactless transactions would benefit your business, here’s how you get started.  First, you must be Chip and Pin ready… which, by the way, you should be since the liability shift was April 30 and if you’re not, you’re taking the liability for chargebacks that you shouldn’t be… but that’s another topic for another day.  Call your Acquirer or service provider to inquire about your point of sale terminal.  Your terminal needs to be contactless enabled.  There are a couple of options when it comes to equipment.  Traditionally, you can opt to have a stand alone reader that connects to your point of sale terminal.  The reader receives the commands from the terminal and prompts the cardholder on the screen to Flash/ Tap/ Wave their contactless card infront of the reader.  The newer terminals in the market combine the reader in with the pinpad so it takes up less real estate on your counter top.  Ask to see which one suits your needs the best.

Will contactless take off in Canada?  There’s no doubt it will… but it will take a while.  Old habits die hard and we are just so used to swiping signing that the move to any new technology will inevitably take some time.  We’re just now getting used to dipping the chip and keying in a pin instead signing…

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Matthew Hunt has been helping small businesses get set-up with Canadian Merchant Account Services since 2007 and helped 1000's do so. Join Matthew on Google+.

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