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SafeCharge has joined with Visa to introduce alternative ways for small businesses to accept digital payments in response to the pandemic. SafeCharge is a London-based payments provider and payment facilitator.

The new solution is called SafeCharge Local, and it enables merchants to accept payments without having to have an online store or a physical POS terminal. In-store, it enables consumers to make payments using smart devices, reducing customer contact at the point of sale.

SafeCharge Local uses a feature the company calls Paylink, which enables merchants to accept payments by generating a QR code or a link to a secure payment page, according to the announcement. They can also create a secure page to accept payment details during a phone call with a customer.

QR code functionality is increasingly used as a way for merchants new to digital payments to begin accepting them without the cost and infrastructure burden that can be significant for many small businesses. Merchants can generate QR codes for their business or for individual transactions, which the consumer can then scan with their device to initiate a payment. Earlier in May, PayPal rolled out its own QR code solution for touch-free transactions.

“Our focus throughout COVID-19 has been to leverage our technology, flexibility and industry knowledge to provide struggling businesses with the tools required to survive this crisis,” said Yuval Ziv, managing director and head of global acquiring for SafeCharge.

“Our principal clients are ecommerce merchants and ideally placed to adapt or potentially thrive throughout the crisis. However, as we quickly recognised the impact to the economic landscape, we wanted to help businesses at risk of bankruptcy, particularly those providing essential goods and services to their communities.

“We believe that when restrictions lift, these merchants will leverage the additional revenue stream and transform their business model to include an online presence. It’s quite probable that their customers will continue to buy with Paylink or similar means of digital payment. We are deeply committed to supporting businesses impacted by the crisis. We will get through this together,” Ziv continued.

Payment facilitators have been developing innovative ways to help small businesses adapt and maintain revenue streams during the COVID-19 crisis. Solutions have included waivers and reductions in fees and expanded loan offerings. PFs have also introduced new product features to support customer needs unique to the current environment, such as moving activities online and offering curbside retail pickup.

“Businesses of all sizes are navigating an overnight shift to digital amidst the global pandemic. As consumers continue to embrace digital payments for their everyday spend, Visa is working with partners like SafeCharge to provide the help and resources businesses need to adapt as they rebuild for the future,” said Dominic White, Visa’s head of merchant sales and acquiring for UK & Ireland.