The CDC has issued guidance for businesses to prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19 and lower the impact in their workplace. One of the focus areas addresses the need to maintain healthy business operations, including a proposal that businesses implement practices to support social distancing if recommended by state and local health authorities.
Telephone appointments, video conferencing and curbside pickup or delivery allow providers of essential services to stay open and continue serving customers in their communities. Business owners who primarily engage with clients in person—from specialty medical practices including dermatologists, physical therapists, audiologists and counselors, to veterinarians and pet supply, and auto repair and parts services—are quickly implementing solutions to safely interact with customers throughout this crisis.
4 Social Distancing Payment Practices
Let’s explore payment practices that you can employ to ensure healthy operations through these new business channels. Once this crisis passes, you’ll continue to reap the benefits, including: a better customer experience, faster cash flow, time and labor savings, and reduced fraud.
- Telephone Payments - If you traditionally take payments on a stand-alone payment device and are no longer meeting customers in person, you can process telephone payments through a cloud-hosted Virtual Terminal. You simply connect to a secure portal via your browser, enter login credentials, and type in card data. You can view and manage all activity from anywhere.
Or, even better, consider connecting your Virtual Terminal to a PayJunction Smart Terminal to manually key in payment information instead of using a computer keyboard. The Smart Terminal features advanced security technology that encrypt the data before routing it for approval. This solution is more secure and reduces your PCI scope.
- Invoice Payment Requests - Obtaining verbal approval for emergency repairs, or complex services can lead to mistakes or transaction disputes, which increase the chance of chargebacks. Creating and sending an invoice for remote payment via email is effective and efficient. The customer simply opens the email, taps on the “pay now” button, and enters card details into a secure form. Not only does this adhere to social distancing, but it also creates digital records associated with invoices and allows you to quickly find and retrieve receipts with just a few clicks.
- Hosted Payment Pages - Manually mailing invoices and waiting for payments to be sent back is inconvenient for customers and inefficient for your business. Hosted Checkout adds a simple “Pay Now” button to your website that directs customers to a secure billing page where they enter the payment amount and payment information. Hosted Checkout is a great option for customers that either (1) electronically pay an invoice they’ve received via mail; Or (2) pay ahead and then pick up. It adds the ability to “pay now” that is initiated by the customer (versus a request to pay that is initiated by staff). Best of all, it doesn’t require any website development skills or the purchase of third-party software, and the data collected remains outside of PCI scope.
- Flexible Payment Plans - You’ve built a loyal clientele by being a trusted provider of essential services in times of need. The economic fallout from the COVID-19 health crisis is affecting many families, friends and businesses in the communities you serve. Denying service to long-term customers who are financially struggling can further put them in harm’s way and result in a loss of their business in the future.
Securely store customer information and card or bank account details to automatically process payments based on an agreed schedule.Solutions that allow valued customers to pay over time are a lifeline in times like these.
Take Social Distancing Payments During COVID-19
What are you doing to get creative with social distancing payments? Tell us more below; you never know who else you're going to help!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2019 and has been updated to include new features that facilitate fast, easy and secure remote payments to support new business models introduced in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.