• A cashless world has been around for some time — the U.S. is playing catch-up. But the pace of change is quick, as more and more businesses are adopting contactless payments in order to meet customer expectations and rising demand.
  • Chargent harnesses the power of Salesforce to deliver payment solutions for customers preparing for a cashless world.
  • Chargent by AppFrontier connects with powerful Salesforce Configure Price Quote (CPQ) and Billing tools to help businesses to get ahead of the curve.

Touchless Payment Methods

Think of the last time you purchased something. When you’re ready to buy, how do you want to pay? While cash is not quite extinct, using a card or phone is becoming the default. And even then, there’s change afoot.

Contactless payments — including Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay and others — is nothing new, but it’s hitting the U.S. at a rip-roaring pace. Based on Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, it goes by Tap and Go and Tap to Pay. Anytime you’ve paid through one of these touchless methods or via mobile in less than half a second, you’ve benefited from contactless payments.

“It almost feels like the rest of the world has been using contactless for ages,” Salesforce Revenue Cloud Product Manager Mike Aaron highlights, “and the U.S. has finally woken up and gone, okay… Let’s do it.”

Solutions built on the Salesforce platform, like Chargent, are helping businesses take advantage of this revolution in payment models. “As retailers, we all need to be thinking about meeting our customers where they are,” AppFrontier co-founder Micaiah Filkins says. “Tap to Pay is now a requirement of retail business.”

Outdated, manual processes are no longer viable options, and that’s okay. There’s a better way – and it’s here to stay. “In terms of the infrastructure, the good news is it’s already in place,” Micaiah says. “Chances are the terminal that’s sitting at your store today already supports contactless.”

How the Payments Space Is Rapidly Changing

It’s no secret how much change has been happening in the payments space. While the United States (and Europe) may not be quite as nimble as China has been in becoming the first nation to launch a sovereign digital currency, people everywhere are primed for a cashless society.

The Future is Tap to Pay

Visa and Mastercard saw 40% increases of this type of transaction over just two quarters.

“We think it’s the future,” Micaiah explains. “We think it’s smart.”

Another contactless option is using a mobile wallet, using a tokenized form of a credit card number. Whatever the method, “what we’re constantly hearing is that consumers want to handle less cash and … want to spend less time in retail environments,” Micaiah says.

Other countries happily jumped on the bandwagon. “Australia, I like to say, is tap happy,” he explains. Three-quarters of Visa transactions in the country are contactless. Meanwhile, in Canada, that number shoots to 95%. So why the delay with the U.S.? Back in 2016, reissuing cards with the contactless logo would’ve cost $35 per card so they were hesitant to take the hit. “But that’s changing,” Micaiah says.

Sometimes people might be concerned with security risks for tap-based or touchless payments. But Micaiah is quick to reassure. “The signal is encrypted — all the way back to the payment processor,” he says. Even if someone did read the card, without access to the cipher it can’t be decrypted.

The Drive for New Models

Executive Director and Head of CMT Sales for Cognizant’s ATG, Daniel Hansen, has spotted other business trends which are impacting payment solution models. “We’re really seeing a big shift to this buy online pickup model,” he says. Companies that lack the right infrastructure or agility to change often aren’t making the transition quickly enough to keep pace with consumer demand.

Adopting new models means changing infrastructure. That means new channels for customers to communicate with sellers and the need for sales transaction support. “We see our clients often doing it with the Salesforce platform,” Dan says, “using solutions like B2B, B2C, Salesforce CPQ, Billing and Chargent.”

The rise of e-commerce and mobile offerings perpetuate the need for a viable option for accepting payments in the back-end. “It’s been fascinating to watch all the new channels that people are using to sell their services and physical goods, as well as new campaigns,” Dan says. “One of the components is going to be collecting payments, whether that’s just a one-time transaction or it’s being able to support longer-term recurring payments and subscription models.”

How Chargent and Salesforce Support Touchless Operating Models

Organizations can combine the power of Chargent for payments and Salesforce’s reach and flexibility to make the move to a touchless operating model. “We work a lot with our customers around these types of challenges,” ATG’s Vice President Alliances and Intellectual Property Sonia Flamm explains, “and we’re using Salesforce CPQ and Billing in the platform to meet those challenges.”

Leveraging Salesforce CPQ and Billing allows for a better view of customers and can be transformational for businesses. “Having a tool like Salesforce CPQ and Billing as part of your technology stack allows you to be a little bit more nimble,” Sonia says.

In both B2C and B2B spaces, she says “customers are demanding a more enhanced engagement experience,” expecting an omnichannel model with self-service, easy sign-ups and accessible support from sales teams. They want a personalized experience with information at their fingertips.

“Where CPQ and Billing and Chargent really come into play is being able to support that model,” Sonia clarifies. How, where and when customers are going to pay bills without having information exposed represent need-to-have information for businesses. “Payment collection is one of the highest touch points for a customer in a business, so making sure that it’s as smooth as possible is really critical.”

Sonia explains that “making sure that our customers are able to transform their business using Salesforce CPQ and Billing and being able to collect on the platform” is vital.

Chargent for Salesforce Billing empowers users to help customers further with a full 360 view where everything is on one platform. “A lot of businesses still have some segregation between the front office and the back office folks,” Dan explains. Clunky payment processes based on this divide between finance and sales departments can hinder efficiency. Proper change management is the solution.

How Valpak Leads the Charge with Chargent

While some companies are scrambling to adapt, others are a few steps ahead. By leveraging ATG, Chargent and Salesforce, Lead to Cash marketing company Valpak aimed to digitally transform its entire CPQ and billing process.

Before beginning its current CPQ and billing journey, Valpak took payments with binders, paper quotes and emails. Sending pictures of credit cards wasn’t uncommon. “It was the wild west,” Valpak Salesforce Analyst Elle Baird explains. “[It was] very manual, [with] lots of opportunities for not being compliant.”

Elle physically sat with her billing team before establishing what processes and payment methods the organization needed to implement. “Go sit with your users — really kind of try and feel their pain — and go from there,” Micaiah says. 

Once Valpak chose Salesforce CPQ and ATG as the system integrator, the agile rollout facilitated an iterative approach with solid end-user adoption. Pushing the transformation took them from payment run-throughs of a manual 1.5 million to 65 million. “This team is fantastic,” Ellie says of Valpak’s relationship with Chargent.

Tokenized card details flow right into the Salesforce platform. “Everything is recorded there,” Ellie explains. “We have copies of [the clients] giving consent — that helps with our chargeback issues. And so it’s a fluid process for both the rep and the client.”

The Payments Future Is Bright, the Payments Future Is Contactless

Chargent is looking forward to a future with abstracted contactless payments for quick website checkouts based on device-stored cards. “To date, we’ve managed to be a serverless organization,” Micaiah explains. “We leverage the Salesforce platform for all of our logic [and user data].”

“This concept of omnichannel payments is the Holy Grail of payments right now,” he says.

Whether businesses are operating globally or domestically, using a tokenized system and a technology-backed platform is far preferable to data stored in an old binder or manually entered on a spreadsheet. Salesforce and Chargent have got you covered.

Get payments right with Chargent by AppFrontier: Learn more about how Chargent works with Salesforce CPQ and Billing.