People of all ages are increasingly turning to cashless options when paying for goods and services, appreciating the convenience and flexibility that these alternatives offer. The Payments Council predicts that most consumer purchases in the U.K. this year will be cashless, a phenomenon that is being principally driven by millennial consumers who are less reliant on cash. Furthermore, nineteen percent of the over-50s are making contactless payments up to three times a week.

It is therefore of no surprise that drivers have the expectation that they can either swipe, insert or tap their credit card, scan a QR code or pay with a mobile app when arriving at a car wash. However, it is not just for the customers’ benefit that operators should install a cashless payment facility, as these alternative payment options provide a real opportunity to boost business and revenue.

Providing cashless payment options encourages customers to pull in for a quick unplanned car wash without having to worry about whether or not they are carrying sufficient cash. In simple terms making your automated car wash station accessible to any driver, regardless of the way they pay, opens up your car wash to more business. Versatile payment options increase your chances of attracting those spur-of-the-moment drivers who decide to go for an impromptu car wash, while if you can only accept cash payments, you’re less likely to win their business.

Research has revealed that customers offered cashless facilities spend up to 20% more. This is probably as a result of the ease of making a purchase and the better customer experience, together with the psychological aspect of not having to hand over cash from their wallet or purse. Studies have also shown that people will often forego small purchases if they do not have cash on them. However, with cashless options available, they would be much more likely to make the purchase and therefore spend more overall.

The Advantages of Cashless Car Washes

From an operational point of view installing a cashless POS system comes with many advantages:

  • A cashless system is quicker to use for customers and therefore facilitates more vehicles going through the car wash and consequently generates more business.
  • With less cash handling there is a reduction in the amount of time employees spend counting and transporting cash. Aside from removing this daily time-consuming activity, reducing cash handling and counting significantly reduces the chances of human error. By starting to accept cashless payments from a digital system you will have a much more efficient system with your daily totals already worked out for you.
  • Every transaction using cashless payments with the customer is completely transparent to both them and the car wash company, leaving the incidence of manual errors at the point of payment close to zero.
  • The absence of large amounts of cash on the site will also help reduce the incidents of vandalism to equipment and theft.
  • A big advantage in using cashless pay systems is the ability it provides to generate reports containing relevant details about sales, including important statistics concerning traffic forecasts and the times they normally arrive. Whether it is through a loyalty, debit or credit card, customers hand over valuable data to businesses each day. A car wash business can use this information to measure the effectiveness of its promotions and monitor customer loyalty, as well as targeting consumers with specific and personal adverts based on their car wash habits, benefitting both sides of the transaction.
  • If your business is located close to a border between two countries using different currencies e.g. Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, or in a strongly tourist area, it is important to have a currency neutral system as two or more currencies may well be in use. If you are only accepting cash, you are not in a position to take advantage of digital payment through which you can accept payments in most currencies that are supported by your payment processor. Many of the payment processors such as Visa and PayPal support virtually all of the world’s major currencies.
  • Many cashless systems now come with multilingual options, including English and Spanish and therefore language barriers needn’t come between you and a sale.

Choosing the Best Payment Terminal

Having recognised the many advantages of cashless payments, the question moves on to which car wash terminal is best to install. The obvious answer is to choose one that offers the most options. At PSD Codax we are excited to be able to offer the SMARTSTART PRO and the AUTO SENTRY PETRO. The SMARTSTAR PRO is a multiple payment option that facilitates payments by credit/debit cards (including contactless), Apple Pay/Android Pay, loyalty cards, gift cards and wash codes. And the AUTO SENTRY PETRO is a secure cashless payment terminal with secure customer card holding; keeping your customers’ data safe.

Of course, customers are not just using bank cards to make contactless payments but enjoy paying directly with their phones. By tapping their phone against the payment device, customers are able to have all their purchase receipts in their phone. It’s a simple and fast and method that many younger shoppers prefer.

Furthermore, allowing customers to make payments via apps, such as Apple or Google Pay, means that your car wash business can very simply integrate offers such as loyalty awards and discounts into orders.

Facilitating payments through mobile wallets, scan codes and mobile coupons can provide a car wash business with not only the advantage of providing a convenient way for customers to pay, but also the opportunity of introducing options such as mobile coupons, recurring payments and the marketing benefits these solutions can provide.

Once you move away from cash only payment options, you are able to easily incorporate loyalty programs and gift card schemes, which are effective marketing tools to help boost sales. By using an integrated system, you are better positioned to launch and manage these schemes, rewarding your repeat customers with enticing discounts and strengthening your bottom line. Customer loyalty can be strengthened by creating a mobile app with which users can buy car wash credit and claim rewards.

By providing a payment solution that caters to both the consumer’s desire for non-cash acceptance, and the ability to offer commercial fleet accounts, car wash operators can take advantage of the way potential customers are looking to spend their money in 2020. If you don’t provide for the many thousands of card-carrying consumers, you will lose money each day in potential profits.

With the Smartstart Pro you can enjoy the features and functionality you need to help you effectively manage and grow your car wash business with its multiple forms of payment acceptance. Its fuel interface enables wash codes at the pump and in the Convenience Store and it supports your location branding through customizable graphics.

Get in touch today and learn more.