The impact of COVID-19 on card payments

Published: 14/07/2020

There’s no doubting COVID-19 has affected every area of life as we knew it, and card payments are no different. 

With global institutions like the World Health Organisation warning consumers to thoroughly wash their hands after handling cash, and the government encouraging businesses to take payments using card machines using contactless technology, the way we’re spending our money is changing dramatically. 

Is cash on the way out?

Before COVID-19 even came on the scene, the way Brits were spending money was changing significantly with the use of cash dropping rapidly, making up just 28% of all transactions, down from 60% a decade earlier.

Although the popularity of cash has been on a downwards trajectory for a while, experts believe the COVID-19 pandemic will ‘hasten the decline’, as people become wary of handling notes and coins for fear of lurking germs and bacteria. 

In the wake of COVID-19, research has found 75% of British consumers are now using less cash, 54% of whom put this down to a fear of handling it. This trend has been described as a ‘sticky habit’ meaning consumers are likely to continue their new behaviours going forward.

Card payments are on the up

Card payments, on the other hand, have been on an upward trajectory for some time, boosted even further by the pandemic. 

  • Contactless payments are up by 31%, now used by two-thirds of adults
  • Card payments increased 75% between 1-17th April 2020 compared with 2019
  • ATM transactions have fallen by 60% during lockdown
  • The search term ‘contactless payments’ is up 300% in the last two months.

Way back in 2016, payment on plastic became the UK’s most popular payment method, racing ahead of all the competition, and it’s now at an all-time high thanks to the safety it can offer consumers.

Now British consumers are slowly emerging from lockdown - more hygiene conscious than ever before - it’s no surprise experts are suggesting they’ll only consider spending money with businesses they perceive to be safe, so for companies to successfully recover when reopening their doors, it’s super-important they can offer shoppers what they want.

How can I start offering safer payments?

It’s been a really scary time for everyone, and here at takepayments we believe no business should be left behind at a time like this, and that’s why we acted so fast during the crisis to genuinely support our customers. 

We're dedicated to working with small, independent businesses and to prove we’re not all talk no action, since the beginning of the pandemic we’ve:

  • Helped 1,000s of customers diversify to accept payments online and over the phone.
  • Created our COVID-hub for customers, offering loads of help, information, and news to small businesses.
  • Waived our minimum monthly service charge (MMSC) for customers in April, May, and June 2020.
  • Launched new products designed to help make taking payments safer and easier than ever before.

So, let’s take a look at our COVID-secure options for taking safer payments.

Card machines

takepayments offer three top-of-the-range card readers for small businesses to choose from. Which one is the right fit for you will depend on the nature of your business and how you want your card machine to work for you. Remember, our dedicated experts are always on hand to help.

Before we take a look at each, we want to highlight that each of our machines is set-up to accept contactless payments as standard, including Apple and Android pay. So whichever machine you opt for, you’ll be ready and rearing to accept safer payments in line with government guidance.

Remember: the contactless limit has been increased to £45 during the pandemic. 


takepayments portable card machines have an impressive 50m range, so you can take your terminal to your customer in line with the government’s table-service guidelines for the hospitality industry. 

They’re lightweight, durable, print instant receipts, and hold a long battery charge. They also come with a base you can plugin out of sight and simply pop your terminal on for a charge after hours. 


The countertop machine sits on your point of sale, whether that’s a bar, reception, sales desk, or otherwise, and is plugged into your broadband or phone line using a two-metre cable*.

*The government has advised business owners to rearrange their card machines to allow for social distancing, and the two-metre cable gives you the flexibility to do just that.

The countertop reader’s compact design means it’s perfect for any size business and won’t take up too much space, it’s also PCI compliant, prints instant receipts, and is super easy to set up.


Our mobile card machine is perfect for anyone who travels to their customers, which is likely to be more people than ever thanks to COVID-19. It’s powered by 3G technology which connects to the strongest GPRS signal around via a sim card, just like a mobile phone, allowing you to take payments from anywhere in the UK.

It comes with a charging base and handy on-the-go cable you can plug in your car, is light and durable, prints instant receipts, and holds a long charge.  

Top tip: if you’re considering offering a takeaway service in light of COVID-19 check out our comprehensive guide to getting started. 

Remember: thoroughly wipe down and disinfect your card reader after each use to minimise the risk of transmission.


Our multipay card reader is hot off the press and has been designed with hairdressers, barbers, beauty therapists and hospitality businesses in mind.

It’s touchscreen and has a glass surface - perfect for wiping clean and disinfecting which is more important than ever right now, you can add up to six chairs/servers on it, and allocate tips by chair/server - plus, you’ll get access to real-time reporting and loads more good stuff.

To find out more or register your interest in multipay, speak to us today. 

Digital payments

If you want to offer your customers the option to pay contact-free but worry about the £45 spending limit, then digital payments are a great alternative for face-to-face and online purchases alike.

The beauty of digital payments is they allow you to take payments from anywhere, and offer your services to more customers, particularly those who might be shielding or wary to leave the house until the coast is clear. 

The stats throughout the COVID-19 pandemic show internet shopping on plastic has increased a whopping 129% week-on-week during the crisis, and many companies are developing their online presence as a consequence. Let’s take a look at the solutions we offer for digital payments.


Our brand new beepaid app has landed at the perfect time for businesses, as it allows for face-to-face contactless transactions of any size using your mobile phone. 

All you need to do is open the app, create a custom invoice, and send it to your customer there and then. Once they’ve entered their card details you’ll be notified of payment instantly, and your money will land in your account within one banking day. 

We’re super proud of beepaid, and know it will make businesses’ lives easier when it comes to adhering to the government’s guidelines for safer payments.

Virtual terminal

With a virtual terminal no website is needed, just access to an internet-enabled device on which you log into your virtual terminal while you’ve got your customer on the phone.

They provide their card details, you enter them into the terminal, and get paid. takepayments virtual terminals are choc-a-bloc with the latest security features, and are super easy to set up.

Payment gateway

With a takepayments payment gateway, you’re always open for business. It’s compatible with over 50 leading shopping carts, can be customised to match your website’s branding, and accepts payments 24/7.

Consumers can browse your website from the safety of their home, stick what they like in their shopping basket, and check-out securely - perfect at a time like this. 

Here at takepayments, we’re doing everything we can to get our customers through these challenging times. For more information on any of the safer payment solutions we offer or for a helping hand deciding which is the right fit for your business, get in touch and speak with one of our friendly experts.

And for the latest news, advice, and guidance around COVID-19 for businesses, head to our dedicated customer hub

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