Click to Pay: An in-depth guide

Last updated January 29, 2024
  1. Introduction
  2. How does Click to Pay work?
    1. Initiation
    2. Tokenization and selection
    3. Authorization and settlement
  3. What is Click to Pay used for?
  4. Benefits of accepting Click to Pay
  5. Challenges associated with Click to Pay
  6. Click to Pay costs and fees
    1. General costs and fees
    2. Costs and fees of using Click to Pay with Stripe
    3. Additional considerations
    4. Tips for managing costs
  7. Accepting Click to Pay as a payment method
  8. Click to Pay security features
    1. Secure user authentication
    2. Additional security features
    3. Benefits of Click to Pay’s security
  9. Click to Pay best practices
    1. Streamlining the checkout
    2. Fortifying your system
    3. Fueling growth and engagement
    4. Embracing the future of payments
    5. Measuring, adapting, and thriving
    6. Additional best practices for holistic success

Click to Pay is a quick, convenient payment method that uses a single click to initiate a transaction. This is also known as contactless payments or tap to pay. While different Click to Pay products might have different names, their goal is the same: eliminate the need for manual information entry, reducing friction and speeding up the checkout process.

Below, we’ll cover everything businesses need to know about Click to Pay: how it works, what makes it so secure, how to start accepting it as a payment method, and best practices for using it.

What’s in this article?

  • How does Click to Pay work?
  • What is Click to Pay used for?
  • Benefits of accepting Click to Pay
  • Challenges associated with Click to Pay
  • Click to Pay costs and fees
  • Accepting Click to Pay as a payment method
  • Click to Pay security features
  • Click to Pay best practices

How does Click to Pay work?

Click to Pay works the same way regardless of the issuer, payment gateway, or payment format you use. Here’s a quick look at how Click to Pay works:

Initiation

  • Business: The customer selects the “Click to Pay” option at checkout, which triggers a secure communication channel between the business’s payment gateway and the relevant network (e.g., Mastercard, Visa).

  • Customer: The customer may be prompted to authenticate their identity, usually with a one-time password (OTP) that is sent to their registered phone number or email.

Tokenization and selection

  • Network: After successful authentication, the network retrieves a tokenized version of the customer’s chosen payment method from a secure vault. This token replaces sensitive card details, shielding them from potential exposure.

  • Customer: A list of available payment methods (e.g., saved cards, digital wallets) linked to the customer’s account appears on the screen. The customer selects their preferred method for the transaction.

Authorization and settlement

  • Network: The chosen payment method token is sent to the issuing bank or digital wallet provider for authorization. This involves verifying that there are sufficient funds in the account and ensuring the transaction complies with security protocols.

  • Issuing bank/wallet provider: If authorized, the issuing bank or wallet provider sends a confirmation message to the network. The funds are then debited from the customer’s account and held in escrow.

  • Business: The network relays the authorization confirmation to the business’s payment gateway, signaling a successful transaction. The business receives the funds (less any processing fees) within a set time frame.

  • Customer: The buyer receives a confirmation message about the payment. Typically, the funds are debited from their account shortly after.

What is Click to Pay used for?

Contactless payments are used globally for an ever-expanding range of transactions. Here are some common use cases where Click to Pay is quickly becoming the go-to payment mechanism:

  • Online retail: A key driver of the growth in ecommerce is the convenience of not needing to enter card details for each purchase. According to the Digital Payments Global Market Report for 2023, the mobile payments transaction volume reached $1.7 billion in 2021, a 27% increase from the previous year—underlining the expanding role of digital payments in retail.

  • Subscription services: Subscription services such as streaming platforms, gym memberships, and software subscriptions use Click to Pay for recurring billing. This aligns with a broader trend: more than two billion people globally used mobile payments in 2021.

  • Food and beverage orders: Restaurants and food delivery services are increasingly adopting Click to Pay. This trend is reflected more broadly in markets such as China—where half a billion people were projected to use mobile payments at point of sale (POS) by the end of 2023—and in the US, where 43.9 million people used Apple Pay in 2021.

  • Transportation services: Click to Pay is a popular option for rideshare apps and public transport ticketing systems.

  • Digital content purchases: Increasingly, customers are using Click to Pay for e-books, music downloads, and in-game items. This sector’s growth aligns with the global trend toward digital payments, as seen in the rising popularity of mobile payment apps such as PayPal, Venmo, and Zelle in the US. These mobile payment apps were used, respectively, by 57%, 38%, and 36% of US adults in 2022.

  • Charitable donations: Nonprofits and fundraising platforms are increasingly integrating Click to Pay solutions into their giving platforms.

  • Travel bookings: The travel industry—including flights, hotels, and car rentals—has embraced Click to Pay for its efficiency.

Benefits of accepting Click to Pay

Businesses that implement Click to Pay can enjoy several advantages. These include:

  • Faster transaction speeds in specific sectors: The retail and food service industries greatly benefit from Click to Pay’s fast transaction speeds, which can boost customer satisfaction while increasing the daily transaction volume in high-volume settings.

  • Advanced security features: Click to Pay technology incorporates advanced security measures such as tokenization and encryption. Tokenization transforms sensitive data—such as credit card numbers—into a nonsensitive equivalent, known as a token. This ensures that the real card details are not exposed during transactions. Encryption also keeps data safe during transactions, protecting customer information from potential security breaches.

  • Influence on conversion rates: The convenience that Click to Pay systems offer correlates with lower cart abandonment rates (when customers leave before completing a purchase). And with studies calculating the average cart abandonment rate to be as high as 70%, this is an important consideration. Simplifying the checkout experience can significantly decrease abandonment, suggesting that a simpler process is key to retaining customers during the final stages of a purchase.

  • Impact on customer experience: The popularity of mobile payment solutions such as Apple Pay underscores a growing customer preference for quick and effortless transactions. A 2022 Capterra survey found that 66% of shoppers expect online checkout to be four minutes or less.

  • Data analysis: Click to Pay systems are valuable sources of customer data. They collect extensive information on purchasing patterns, which businesses can use to create tailored marketing strategies and product improvements that personalize the customer experience and improve business offerings.

  • Global market expansion: The global nature of Click to Pay facilitates international transactions, supporting businesses that want to expand their market reach. The volume of cross-border transactions via digital payments is expected to see significant growth by 2027, reflecting the increasing importance of accommodating a global customer base.

  • Reduction in the handling of cash: Shifting to electronic payments through Click to Pay reduces the costs and risks associated with cash management, including lower banking fees and a lower risk of physical theft or counterfeiting.

  • Adaptability across business models: Click to Pay solutions offer scalability and integration with various business sizes and types. They empower businesses to tailor their payment experience toward meeting the needs and preferences of their customers—making Click to Pay a versatile choice for a range of business models.

  • Technological integration and compatibility: Click to Pay technology easily integrates with existing POS systems and ecommerce platforms and is compatible with a range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers. This broad compatibility means that many different types of businesses can use Click to Pay effectively.

Challenges associated with Click to Pay

While Click to Pay offers many potential benefits, there are also challenges that businesses should be aware of:

  • Complex integrations: Integrating Click to Pay systems with existing payment infrastructures can be an intricate process, especially for businesses with legacy systems. This requires careful planning, and it may involve significant updates to hardware and software.

  • Compliance and security risks: Staying compliant with evolving data security standards such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is key. Businesses must update their systems regularly to meet these standards, which can be resource-intensive. Additionally, the risk of data breaches is always present, so businesses must put in place strong security measures.

  • Encouraging adoption and training staff: Familiarizing your staff and customers with Click to Pay technology can involve extensive customer education campaigns and employee training to promote adoption and create a team that’s prepared to help customers if they run into any issues.

  • Cost implications: The initial setup and ongoing maintenance of Click to Pay systems can be costly. These costs can include investing in new hardware, upgrading software, and potentially paying the higher transaction fees associated with some digital payment methods.

  • Technical maintenance and support: Ongoing technical support and maintenance are significant when accepting Click to Pay. Downtime or technical glitches can lead to lost sales and negatively impact customer experience—and your business’s reputation.

  • Fraud and chargeback management: While Click to Pay enhances security, it does not completely eliminate the risk of fraud and chargebacks. Businesses must implement and regularly update fraud detection and prevention mechanisms. Additionally, managing chargebacks requires dedicated resources and expertise.

  • Reliable payment gateways: Using external payment gateways and processors means that any downtime or performance issues on their end can directly impact your business. This means it’s imperative to have reliable payment gateways and put contingency plans into place in the event of outages.

  • Cross-border transactions: While Click to Pay facilitates global transactions, dealing in multiple currencies and different transaction fees can still require a strong understanding of global payment systems.

  • Customer privacy concerns: Any handling of sensitive customer data raises privacy concerns. Businesses must ensure they comply with data protection laws such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and also are transparent with customers about how their data is used and stored.

  • Scalable technology: As the business grows, the Click to Pay system must be able to scale accordingly. This involves continuous investment in technology to handle increased transaction volume and potential expansion into new markets.

  • Interoperability with other systems: Click to Pay systems need to be interoperable with other business systems such as inventory management, customer relationship management (CRM), and accounting software. This can require custom solutions and prove technically demanding for businesses.

Click to Pay costs and fees

Click to Pay is free for customers. For businesses, fees associated with Click to Pay include the following:

General costs and fees

  • Transaction fees: Most Click to Pay providers charge a per-transaction fee, which is typically a percentage of the transaction amount. This can vary based on the service provider.

  • Setup fees: Some providers charge a one-time setup fee for activating Click to Pay on your website or app.

  • Monthly fees: A small number of providers charge a monthly subscription fee for Click to Pay access, regardless of transaction volume.

  • PCI DSS compliance fees: Businesses are responsible for making sure their systems comply with PCI DSS. This may involve additional costs for security audits and software solutions.

  • Foreign transaction fees: If you accept payments from customers outside your home country, you may need to pay additional fees for currency conversion and international processing.

Costs and fees of using Click to Pay with Stripe

  • Transaction fees: Stripe charges a 2.9% + 30¢ per-transaction fee for Click to Pay transactions.

  • Setup fees: Stripe does not charge setup fees for Click to Pay with Standard plans.

  • Monthly fees: Stripe does not charge any monthly fees for Click to Pay access.

  • PCI DSS compliance fees: Stripe offers built-in PCI DSS compliance features, potentially reducing the need for additional compliance costs.

  • Foreign transaction fees: Stripe charges a 1.5% fee for international payment methods, with an additional 1% fee for currency conversion.

Additional considerations

  • Volume discounts: Some providers, including Stripe, offer volume discounts for businesses that process a high number of transactions.

  • Integrations: Integrating Click to Pay with other platforms or services may involve additional fees.

  • Chargeback fees: If a customer disputes a transaction, you may be charged a chargeback fee by the Click to Pay provider or your bank.

Tips for managing costs

  • Negotiate with your Click to Pay provider: If you process a high volume of transactions, you may be able to negotiate lower transaction fees.

  • Choose a provider with transparent pricing: Make sure you understand all the fees associated with Click to Pay before you choose a provider.

  • Optimize your checkout process: A streamlined checkout process can help reduce cart abandonment and increase conversion rates, ultimately leading to more transactions and potentially lower fees.

  • Consider other payment methods: For lower-value transactions, alternate methods such as ACH payments may be more cost-effective than Click to Pay.

Accepting Click to Pay as a payment method

Most modern payment hardware and software is already equipped with the ability to accept Click to Pay payments. This means that for many businesses, there’s not a lot they need to do to begin accepting these payments. But for businesses starting at square one, here’s how to set up a payment system that’s equipped to handle Click to Pay:

  • Dive deep into the payment provider’s capabilities: Conduct an in-depth analysis of different payment providers, focusing on advanced features such as fraud detection algorithms, real-time analytics, and multicurrency support. This step is key for understanding how different providers can meet your business’s specific needs.

  • Select and customize a payment gateway: Choose a payment gateway that offers extensive customization options. Consider application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow for simple integration with your existing systems. For instance, Stripe provides a set of APIs that allow for a high degree of customization and flexibility.

  • Set up your merchant account: When setting up a merchant account with a provider, pay close attention to the terms of service—especially around transaction fees, chargeback policies, and settlement periods. Know whether the account can handle high-volume transactions and potentially scale as your business grows.

  • Integrate an advanced POS system: If your business operates offline, integrate advanced POS systems that can process contactless payments. This might involve API integration for syncing sales data with your inventory management and accounting software.

  • Invest in hardware for near-field communication (NFC) payments: For physical stores, invest in high-quality NFC-enabled card readers that offer speed and reliability. Make sure these devices are compatible with a wide range of contactless payment methods, including mobile wallets and wearable technology.

  • Integrate online payment options with website infrastructure: Use comprehensive online payment integration tools, such as Stripe’s, to embed Click to Pay options into your ecommerce platform. With Stripe, this includes setting up Stripe Checkout or integrating Stripe’s payment processing into your existing checkout flow via Stripe.js and Stripe Elements.

  • Conduct rigorous system testing: Perform extensive testing not just for transaction processing, but also for security compliance (such as Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, certificate implementation) and mobile responsiveness. Use Stripe’s test mode to simulate transactions without affecting your live data.

  • Implement in-depth staff training and fraud prevention education: Provide detailed training for staff, focusing on processing transactions, handling NFC devices, and recognizing potential fraudulent use. Use Stripe’s resources and documentation to educate your team on best practices in payment processing and security.

  • Employ strategic customer communication: Develop a comprehensive strategy to inform customers about the new payment options. This can include in-store marketing, targeted email campaigns, and instructional content on how to use Click to Pay.

  • Administer continuous compliance monitoring and security updates: Establish a routine for monitoring compliance with the latest security standards and regulations. For example, regularly update your Stripe integration to incorporate the latest security features and compliance updates.

  • Complete analytical reviews of transaction data: Leverage Stripe’s advanced analytics tools for new insight into transaction patterns, customers’ preferences, and potential areas to optimize. Use this data to refine your payment process and customer engagement strategies.

  • Implement ongoing system improvement and a customer feedback loop: Continue to seek customer feedback on the payment process and remain flexible in making adjustments. You can use Stripe’s ever-growing set of features to enhance the customer experience and make the payment process even faster.

Click to Pay security features

Click to Pay’s security features are a major reason why the payment method has taken off around the world. Here’s a closer look at Click to Pay’s security features and the technology that powers it:

  • Tokenization: This is the cornerstone of Click to Pay’s security. Instead of storing sensitive card information such as numbers and CVVs on merchant servers, Click to Pay replaces them with unique tokens. These tokens are generated and stored securely on a separate server that is inaccessible to businesses or potential hackers. When a transaction occurs, the token is sent to the payment network for authorization, eliminating the risk of exposing card data.

  • Encryption: All data transmitted between the customer, business, and payment network is encrypted using industry-standard algorithms such as Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.2 or higher. This means that even in the event that data is intercepted, it will remain unreadable.

  • Fraud prevention: Click to Pay employs advanced fraud prevention tools to identify and block suspicious activity in real time. These tools include:

    • Machine learning: Analyzes transaction patterns and customer behavior to identify anomalies that could indicate fraudulent activity
    • Velocity checks: Monitors for unusually high transaction volumes from a single device or account
    • Geolocation verification: Checks if the location of the transaction matches the customer’s billing address
    • Device fingerprinting: Identifies unique characteristics of the device used for the transaction to prevent unauthorized access
  • Compliance: Click to Pay adheres to strict data security regulations such as PCI DSS, ensuring that all data is handled and stored securely. This lowers the risk of data breaches and compliance fines.

Secure user authentication

Click to Pay offers various secure user authentication methods, including:

  • Biometric authentication: This method uses fingerprint or facial recognition for secure login and transaction confirmation.

  • Two-factor authentication (2FA): This requires an additional verification step, such as a code sent to the customer’s phone, to authorize transactions.

  • Secure password storage: This method turns passwords into an unintelligible series of numbers and letters (known as hashing) and adds random characters to a password (known as salting) to prevent unauthorized access.

Additional security features

  • Token life span: Tokens are automatically deactivated after a certain period of inactivity, further reducing the risk of misuse.

  • Minimal data: Click to Pay collects and stores only the minimum amount of data necessary for processing transactions to reduce the potential attack surface.

  • Regular security audits: Click to Pay providers conduct regular security audits to identify and address potential vulnerabilities in the system.

Benefits of Click to Pay’s security

  • Reduced risk of fraud and data breaches: The multilayered security features make it significantly harder for attackers to steal sensitive information or conduct fraudulent transactions.

  • Increased customer trust and confidence: Customers feel more secure knowing their data is protected when they use Click to Pay.

  • Improved compliance: Adhering to strict data security regulations helps businesses avoid fines and reputational damage.

  • Smoother checkout process: Secure user authentication methods such as biometrics can speed up the checkout process, improving customer experience even more.

Click to Pay best practices

As with any other payment method, your business’s success with Click to Pay hinges on how you implement and manage it in the context of your broader operations. Here are some best practices around Click to Pay that will help you maximize benefits while limiting risks:

Streamlining the checkout

  • Prepopulated forms: Autofill customer data for Click to Pay transactions to save time and avoid frustration.

  • One-click checkout: Reward loyal customers with express checkout options, removing unnecessary steps and boosting conversion.

  • Multidevice flexibility: Ensure the Click to Pay experience works across desktop, mobile, and in-app platforms.

Fortifying your system

  • Layered tokenization: Move beyond basic tokenization. Explore dynamic solutions that constantly refresh tokens to minimize vulnerability even in a data breach.

  • Real-time fraud analytics: Employ AI-powered fraud detection that analyzes transaction patterns and device behavior in real time, identifying and blocking suspicious activity before it impacts your business.

  • Data minimization: Store and process only the minimum necessary customer data, shrinking the attack surface.

Fueling growth and engagement

  • Targeted promotions: Incentivize adoption and drive usage with exclusive discounts or bonus points for using Click to Pay.

  • Subscription optimization: Integrate Click to Pay with your subscription model for effortless one-click renewals and automated billing to create a reliable revenue stream.

  • Click-to-donate integration: Facilitate easy and secure donations through Click to Pay, boosting your brand’s image and engagement among donors while fostering social responsibility.

Embracing the future of payments

  • Investigate emerging technologies: Explore blockchain-based Click to Pay solutions to stay ahead of the curve.

  • Partner with innovators: Collaborate with tech startups and industry leaders that are developing cutting-edge Click to Pay features to gain access to the latest advancements.

  • Regulation readiness: Proactively study and comply with the evolving regulations governing Click to Pay transactions and data privacy for uninterrupted operations.

Measuring, adapting, and thriving

  • Track key metrics: Monitor Click to Pay adoption rates, transaction volumes, and customer feedback to identify areas for improvement.

  • Relentless A/B testing: Continuously test different Click to Pay placements, messaging, and functionalities to maximize performance and refine your approach.

  • Data-driven decision-making: Leverage Click to Pay data to personalize customer experiences and tailor your Click to Pay strategy for maximum impact on your long-term success.

  • Bonus tip: Identify high-value customer segments using Click to Pay’s data insights and personalize your marketing efforts for targeted acquisition and retention, maximizing your return on the investment.

Additional best practices for holistic success

  • Prioritize security compliance: Implement end-to-end encryption and tokenization, conduct regular audits, and update systems to maintain the latest security protocols.

  • Optimize the customer experience: Design a clear, concise checkout process with as few steps as possible and mobile compatibility to maximize convenience.

  • Integrate Click to Pay with your systems: Use APIs to connect your payment system with other business systems for data consistency and real-time insights.

  • Stay updated and educate customers: Regularly update payment software and hardware, educate customers on Click to Pay usage, and address their questions promptly.

  • Monitor and analyze: Track trends, identify peak sales periods, and set alerts for unusual transactions to proactively detect and prevent fraud.

  • Develop a fraud detection strategy: Implement multifactor authentication, employ machine learning for anomaly detection, and offer multiple payment methods for customer convenience.

  • Ensure scalability and gather feedback: Choose a platform that scales with your growth, conduct stress tests, and actively solicit customer feedback to continuously improve your Click to Pay offerings.

  • Prepare for technical issues: Develop a comprehensive incident response plan and train staff for basic troubleshooting to minimize downtime and keep your customers happy.

Ready to get started? Get in touch or create an account.

Access a complete payments platform with simple, pay-as-you-go pricing, or contact us to design a custom package specifically for your business.