Contactless payments are right here, right now.

We are living in a digital age where people no longer carry cash or cheque books, and they expect to be able to make contactless payments wherever they go.

But for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and SMEs, there is no time to waste. Contactless payments and payment acceptance solutions are the present, not the future.

According to recent research from Statista, the average monthly number of contactless payments is set to rise from two (in 2015) to 14 (by 2025). The data shows that as of April 2017, more than £3.9bn was taken using contactless payments across 416m transactions.

This is not just because of the convenience of simply tapping your card or smartphone against a mobile card machine – it is also due to the sheer popularity of contactless terminals among financial institutions. More than 490,000 payments were processed by financial firms in 2017 alone. And as of January 2016, even the London Underground has been accepting contactless payments. Meanwhile in clothing stores, annual contactless spending saw an increase of more than 320 per cent in 2017.

Why do people like contactless payments?

One survey in 2016 found that a massive 90 per cent of people liked that contactless payments meant that they did not have to enter a PIN number in front of a stranger. This added layer of privacy has undoubtedly played its part in the rise of contactless card machines.

In response to growing demand, fintech firms have begun to offer an array of contactless payment methods, including key fobs, smart watches and wristbands.

The only downside to using contactless methods of payment is that there is a maximum transaction spend of £30. This limit was put in place to combat fraudulent activities, although one study found that just 2.7p of every £100 was spent fraudulently in 2016.

The normalisation and security of contactless payments is further proof that they are here to stay – it is the responsibility of small businesses to ensure that they aren’t left behind.