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The Best Payment Method for Car Washes

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The Best Payment Method for Car Washes

Car Wash Superstore

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

It's been over 100 years since the first car wash was opened. The methods customers use to pay for this essential service has continued to evolve along with the automobile itself. 

You have a variety of customers visiting your business, with different lifestyles and needs, so you likely need to accept more than one method of payment. Today we’ll investigate where the future of payment is headed. 

First, let’s examine some of the drawbacks associated with traditional forms of payment.


Handling large sums of cash leaves business owners susceptible to great levels of risk. On the smaller side of risk, there is human error potential with employees making change for your customers. However, a much larger risk is the possibility of theft, either by employees or criminals.


Worldwide check usage peaked in 1995, when they were used in 49.5 billion transactions. Even if a customer’s check has been adorably customized with kittens or balloons, it can not be looked upon as an ideal (or even safe) form of payment. Checks can not be instantly verified for available funds, and can be easily forged, putting business owners at risk. They are also time consuming – the counter time it takes a customer to complete the check, the extra time it takes to complete a check deposit, and the time it takes for funds to transfer and become available to the business are all obstacles to an efficient workflow.

Credit and Debit

The most popular form of payment today, credit and debit cards, still has a degree of risk. Magnetic strip credit cards can easily have their information swiped by malicious scammers. Chip and pin technology presents a security upgrade, but there is a payment method that improves upon this as well

Contactless Payment

This method uses radio frequency technology to allow customers to make purchases with a card or phone. According to Investopedia, “To make a contactless payment, a person simply needs to tap their card near a point-of-sale terminal – leading to the nickname “tap-and-go.” Since contactless payments do not require a signature or a PIN, transaction sizes on cards are limited."

Contactless payment is growing in popularity. According to WorldPay, US mobile wallet use will outpace both credit and debit card use by 2020. USA Technologies, Nayax, PSD Codax, and others are currently manufacturing contactless systems for the car wash industry, with more companies expected to join them in short order. As these systems become more readily available, it will be vitally important for business owners to keep pace with the needs and expectations of their customers.

One of the biggest benefits offered by contactless payment is speed. It offers all the convenience of credit and debit transactions, but accelerates the transaction time by eliminating signatures or pin entries. If you’re running a high volume car wash, saving even a few seconds per transaction quickly multiplies and translates into additional profit.

Contactless payments make administrative tasks like auditing and accounting much faster and more accurate than when working with cash. And it surpasses swipe or chip options by reducing the need for staff. Contactless also improves the customer experience by eliminating the possibility for customers to leave their card behind in a chip reader.

Payment methods will continue to evolve. It’s possible that in twenty years car owners will insist on paying for their washes with Bitcoin, or bartering with crops. Until we know what the future of payment looks like, it’s important to meet your customers where they’re at, and to make it as easy as possible for them to give you their business.

Do you have other questions about business solutions for your car wash? Contact our experts today so we can keep you on the cutting edge of wash technology.


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