Visa study finds smartphones could serve as low cost, secure payment terminals for Australian small businesses


Nearly half (41 per cent) of Australian consumers are willing to use ‘tap to phone’ payments, meaning businesses could accept contactless payments on their smartphone, eliminating the need for expensive point-of-sale infrastructure.

As consumers and businesses increasingly turn to digital payments during the COVID-19 pandemic, Visa has launched new consumer payments research that shows how ‘tap to phone’ solutions could bring more micro and small businesses into the digital economy.

Tap to phone enables sellers to accept contactless payments directly on their own Android NFC-enabled smartphone, without the need for a separate payment acceptance terminal. Instead of tapping a contactless card, phone or wearable on a terminal, a consumer taps on the seller’s smartphone to pay.

New research from Visa reveals that 41 per cent of Australian consumers would likely use tap to phone payments, despite solutions not yet being widely available. The research suggests that as tap to phone solutions are introduced in Australia, consumers would embrace this new form of payments, with the vast majority of face-to-face transactions in Australia already being contactless.

“Australian consumers have led the world in the adoption of contactless payments, and given the ubiquitous use of smartphones in our daily lives, we expect the new tap to phone form of payment will be a popular choice as people become more familiar with the technology,” said Julian Potter, Visa’s Group Country Manager for Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific.

“Beyond consumers enjoying secure and convenient payments, tap to phone provides a significant opportunity to expand digital payments acceptance to small and micro businesses, enabling these sellers to reach more customers and increase their sales.”

Small businesses to benefit from tap to phone

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell says small businesses stand to benefit from using technology to facilitate contactless payments.

“Small businesses can reduce the costs associated with accepting digital payments by using tap to phone technology,” said Ms Carnell. “It allows small businesses to use their smartphones to accept contactless payments directly, without the need for a separate payment acceptance terminal.”

“In these challenging times, it is encouraging to see new technologies emerging to ensure payments are faster, easier and cheaper for the small business user,” Ms Carnell added.

Ease, speed and convenience appeal to Australian consumers

In addition to simplifying point-of-sale infrastructure for businesses, tap to phone payments bring benefits to consumers. Ease of use was rated as the most popular reason to consider using tap to phone by 50 per cent of those surveyed. This was followed by saving time (44 per cent) and eliminating the need to carry cash (43 per cent).

While 43 per cent of consumers rated security as a factor that would encourage their adoption of tap to phone payments, the survey also revealed a need for the industry to educate consumers about security features. Protecting financial information (54 per cent) and personal information (52 per cent) were named as the top concerns of using tap to phone.

Tap to phone solutions bring multiple layers of security on both the buyer and seller side, ensuring that Visa’s high standards for secure payments are met. Each solution undergoes an intensive certification process including a security assessment by an accredited expert security lab. These solutions are also supported by an industry standard that has been developed and published by the PCI Security Standards Council.

Restaurants, convenience stores and food courts popular scenarios for tap to phone

Visa’s research also looked at the scenarios where consumers would be most likely to pay via tap to phone. Restaurants were the most popular choice (47 per cent) showing a desire for customers to pay while seated at the table, followed by convenience stores (45 per cent), as well as small local businesses (41 per cent) and food courts or kiosks (41 per cent).

“Our research highlights speed and convenience as key priorities, and we see tap to phone as a new option for sellers, of all sizes, to meet this demand, particularly in emerging areas such as payment on delivery for food orders and items purchased through e-commerce,” said Mr Potter.

Visa and its partners have launched tap-to-phone solutions in Malaysia and India, with more Asia Pacific markets to follow in the coming months.


Methodology: Visa Tap to Phone Study
The Visa Tap to Phone study was conducted by YouGov research between 16 to 20 July 2020, among 1,012 adults aged 18+ in Australia.


About Visa Inc.

Visa Inc. is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network - enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of digital commerce on any device, for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit About Visa, and @VisaNews.