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As the world increasingly turns to digital payments amidst COVID-19, a simple mobile app can help millions of sellers worldwide quickly and securely accept contactless payments, while improving the checkout experience for customers. After piloting Visa Tap to Phone over the past year, Visa today announced product availability in South Africa and accelerated global product growth in the rest of the world via more than 35 new partners, including Visa Ready for Tap to Phone partners.

Tap to Phone transforms current-generation Android smartphones or tablets into contactless, or tap-to-pay, software-based point of sale (soft POS) terminals without additional hardware. As part of Visa’s commitment to digitally-enable 50 million small and micro businesses, this cost-effective tool helps businesses quickly access the digital economy, prevent lost sales and improve cash flow by accepting contactless payments anywhere, anytime. Already, the number of sellers using Tap to Phone has grown by 200% over the past year and is now live in numerous countries across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, and Latin America.

Recent launches for Tap to Phone include Belarus, Malaysia, Peru, Russia, and South Africa, with upcoming launches planned in Brazil, Italy, United Kingdom and more.

“The payments landscape has continued to evolve, as technology advances, to provide consumers with a variety of options. Card payments’ progression started with the magnetic stripe cards, all the way to the virtual cards and tap-to-phone functionality available today”, says Aldo Laubscher South Africa Country Manager at Visa.

Opportunity for Tap to Phone by the numbers:

·         Two billion Android devices globally could transform to payment acceptance machines.

·         Tap to Phone holds particular promise for the 180 million micro and small merchants (MSM) around the world, where fewer than 10% of MSMs in many emerging markets currently accept digital payments.

·         In a survey conducted by Visa, 63% of MSMs said they would likely implement Tap to Phone in their own businesses and more than 50% of consumers said they would likely use Tap to Phone if offered to them.

“It was just five years ago when Visa set out to enable virtually any IoT or mobile device to make payments and now today, we are enabling many of those same devices to accept payments in a very simple way with Visa Tap to Phone,” said Mary Kay Bowman, global head of buyer and seller solutions, Visa. “With billions of phones around the world at the ready, the opportunity that comes with lighting them up as payment acceptance devices is enormous. Visa Tap to Phone could be one of the most profound ways to reinvent the physical shopping experience.”

Tapping to pay, or contactless payments, is growing rapidly in the COVID-19 era. Visa has seen tap to pay payments grow by 40% year-over-year[4],  In a recent Visa survey, nearly half of consumers (48%) said they would not shop at a store that offers only payment methods requiring contact with a cashier or shared machine like a card reader[5], making it critical for businesses to expand their acceptance methods beyond cash.

“Tap to Phone is a quick, easy, and secure way to pay, which is perceptibly faster and more convenient than paying by cash. The experience is much swifter for consumers, especially as smartphones are quickly becoming commonplace. For merchants, tap to pay technology speeds up queuing times and reduces the burden of handling cash”, adds Laubscher.

Reinventing In-store Shopping, No Longer Constrained to the POS

According to Visa data, casual dining, travel resources and groceries are currently the most typical category of use for soft POS solutions. However, Tap to Phone can elevate consumer experiences in additional ways including:

·         Line busting: With six-foot social distancing mandates in effect, lines can become overwhelming. Tap to Phone helps employees to checkout customers quickly, anywhere around the store. 

·         Transit: In Japan and Belarus, Visa was first to show how Tap to Phone can help eliminate the need for standalone ticket machines and additional validation hardware for conductors.

·         Nomadic and service-based businesses: Make a sale from anywhere and get paid on the spot without having a hardline POS or adding payment accessories.

·         Pay on delivery: Tap to Phone decreases friction when consumers pay for delivery, eliminating the need for cash and limiting touch during the transaction.

 There is an undoubted move globally way from cash and digital payments have grown exponentially over the last year. To accommodate this and ensure everyone is included, the focus has to shift to the millions of SMME acquirers that are now included in this digital payment world without having to invest in any hardware, monthly maintenance fees and cost of paper rolls. With the added security of PIN for Tap on Phone, customers and banks are given added protection says Brian Richardson – CEO of WIZZIT Digital – a global pioneer in the provision of digital payment software.

Building a Global Partner Network to Accelerate Product Availability

Also announced today, the Visa Ready for Tap to Phone program will help to fast track global product availability and could reduce the functional evaluation for solution providers from almost two months to a few hours. Visa Ready for Tap to Phone now enables technology companies to become Visa Ready certified, giving sellers the peace of mind that the technology solution they choose meets Visa’s high standards for security. Initial participants of Visa Ready for Tap to Phone include Cellfie, Center of Corporate Technologies M4Bank, Digitsecure, GeoPagos, IBA Group, MYPINPAD, PayCore, Phos, Quest, Rubean, SmartPesa, SoftPos, Soft Space and Techno.

Additional Visa approved technology, acquirer partners include Nedbank, Synthesis and Hello Group.

If you are a solution provider or acquirer interested in learning more, please visit the Visa Ready website for more details.

Tap to Phone: How It Works

Sellers download an app, supported by their acquirer, and after registering and selecting their participating bank, the sellers can start accepting contactless payments in just a few minutes. Tap to Phone builds on top of the security of an EMV chip transaction, in which each transaction contains a dynamic cryptogram that cannot be reused. To see more about how Tap to Phone works, a video demonstration is available here.