What “Convenience” in Payments Means to Consumers
October 11, 2023

Convenient payments are the foundation of your customers’ preferred retail experience.

Consumers of all ages prioritize convenience and ease of use in the payments experience. Just look at our 2023 Annual Payments Study – Baby Boomer and Gen X consumers said convenience is the top factor influencing how they choose their favorite payment method, while Millennials and Gen Z typically look for ease of use. But what exactly does that mean? What is a convenient payment method? More importantly, how can merchants ensure their stores meet customer expectations for easy payments? 

To find out, we asked consumers, “what makes a payment convenient for you and easy to use?” Their answers provide essential guidance that merchants can follow to stand out from competitors, particularly as the holiday shopping season approaches.

Widely Accepted Payments

The way that a payment method is convenient is based on how many places that it’s accepted.” 

Brad 

Age 66, Florida 

Many consumers, particularly Baby Boomers, who responded to our question focused on acceptance. They don’t want to waste time thinking about whether a store will take their preferred payment method before making a purchase. This can be a challenge for retailers as payments technology evolves at a rapid pace.  

To keep up with your customers’ preferences, regularly survey them so you can update your point-of-sale (POS) system to accept the payment methods they wish to use. Additionally, use in-store signage and website messaging to clearly state up front what payments your stores accept. Don’t wait until their shopping cart has been scanned to tell them they can’t make a payment. 

Fast Payments

What makes it easy to use is if I’m able to just tap my card … or just save the card to my phone … and be ready to go.” 

Dena 

Age 48, Kentucky 

Speed is another important factor for consumers seeking a convenient payment experience. Thanks to advances in smartphone capabilities and near-field communication (NFC) technology, shoppers can tap their card on a terminal or save it to their mobile wallet for fast and easy checkout. Streamlining the process by removing steps, such as no longer typing in zip codes on a terminal, is important to time-conscious shoppers.  

Merchants can do more to facilitate speed than simply accepting these streamlined payment methods. Keeping POS terminals conveniently placed will ensure customers are able to quickly tap, scan, insert or swipe when they are ready to pay. Additionally, merchants can collaborate with a reliable payments technology partner to manage the connections between their POS and payment processors, which helps ensure processing speeds are consistent.

Flexible Payments 

Something that I can use with or without my wallet…” 

Andrew 

Age 40, Pennsylvania 

Flexibility is another way that consumers perceive convenience in payments. These elements are less about time saved and more about ease of use. Thanks to smartphones and other evolving payment methods, consumers are no longer forced to carry around a wallet full of cash or cards. They can add payment methods to their mobile wallet and shop both online and in store. 

Your stores must be equally flexible to ensure your customers enjoy a convenient payments experience. If your brick-and-mortar locations accept a wide variety of payment methods, ensure your website can also process them. This is particularly important for mobile merchants who are on the go and wish to deliver the same convenient experience a customer would receive at brick-and-mortar locations without requiring multiple pieces of heavy equipment. 

Simple Payments

“… I don’t have to sit there and open an app and press a bunch of buttons…” 

Keiko 

Age 20, Georgia 

New and innovative payments technologies have opened exciting possibilities, but more options can sometimes lead to confusing or cumbersome processes. Simplicity is key to ensuring consumers can easily and conveniently use emerging payment methods.  

As a merchant, you may believe this responsibility lies on the payment service provider, but that isn’t entirely true. If you offer your customers the opportunity to join a rewards program or make a purchase with loyalty points, make sure they don’t have to jump through hoops to use them at checkout. 

Convenience Can Keep Holiday Shoppers Coming Back

Ensuring convenient payment processes is an important part of delivering the shopping experience that consumers seek. To show just how important that experience will be, here is a sneak peek at our upcoming 2023 Holiday Report, which surveyed more than 2,500 holiday shoppers about their plans this coming season: 

  • 96% of U.S. holiday shoppers plan to shop in-store this holiday season. 
  • The top factor influencing which merchants receive holiday shoppers’ business is a good in-store experience.  
  • Staying within budget ranked as holiday shoppers’ second most important priority for the season (behind seeing family and friends).  

We’ll have more insights when our full report is available later this month, but until then, these findings show that holiday shoppers want a good in-store experience and to stay within budget. Merchants that facilitate a convenient payments experience will be better positioned to help these holiday shoppers enjoy their time in store and reliably use their preferred payment method to manage their spending budget. 

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