According to recent survey by GoCardless, 39% of consumers would ditch traditional banking in favor of peer-to-peer and social media app payments if they could. More than half of Americans (51%) are now more likely to use apps such as PayPal and Venmo than before the pandemic. And 56% of those aged 18-40 make a digital payment at least once daily. The C-store and retail petroleum industry is taking note of these consumer payment trends, as is Verifone, one of the leading technology providers for electronic payment transactions and value-added services at the point-of-sale (POS). At last month’s Verifone Client Forum, Advanced Payment Methods (APMs) generated a lot of buzz among fuel retailers, a group that is already very familiar with payment-related topics like EMV liability and PCI compliance.
APM options sit outside the traditional credit card model, which includes Apple Pay and Digital Wallets. APMs include Venmo, QR codes, and Crypto currency payments, and also encompass “buy now, pay later” strategies. While they may raise questions and appear intimidating for merchants, they can be a game changer from the customer’s perspective – especially for Millennials, who tend to eschew credit cards and want retailers to offer alternatives beyond cash. Adopting APMs is a chance for merchants to grow the customer base and increase sales; create a unified commerce experience; monetize touchpoints; and demonstrate that the business is responsive to market forces.
While APMs are both promising and provocative, they also present a host of unknowns.
If you are a fuel retailer or C-store owner considering APMs, be sure to have:
A flexible infrastructure. Design or procure an APM solution flexible enough to accommodate future changes. Since APMs are still in their infancy, it’s best not to design all your systems around them. You don’t want to be stuck with a POS system that can’t keep pace with an evolving payment landscape.
Backup connectivity. Your APM offerings are only an option when you have a reliable network. Even a brief outage can lead to lost sales. Strive for “always on” availability that’s delivered by reliable LTE backup that activates automatically in the event your primary connection fails.
A secure network. A best practice when it comes to accepting any new payment method is to protect your network so you can safeguard customer and transaction data. Since APMs are still emerging in the marketplace, their full scope of risks is somewhat unknown. For that reason, it is wise to assume that each new payment option added to the network expands its surface attack area. Securing the network – and the business – from cyberattacks should therefore reflect the changed operational environment.
For retailers looking to capitalize on market trends and expand their customer bases, APMs offer an encouraging growth opportunity – along with the chance to demonstrate that the business is willing to rise to meet the desires and expectations of new customers.