Contactless payments are a fast, more secure, and hygienic way to make purchases with a debit or credit card, or a mobile wallet such as Apple Pay® and Google Pay™. Read on to learn why it’s becoming an increasingly popular and advantageous payment method for you as well as your customers.
In this guide:
- The basics: what it is and how it works
- A brief history of contactless payments
- Why you should accept contactless payment
- Safety and hygiene considerations
What’s contactless payment and how does it work?
Contactless payment systems allow consumers to purchase products or services using a debit card, credit card, or mobile wallet without physically inserting or swiping a card into a point-of-sale device, handing a card to staff, signing their names, or entering PINs. Also called “tap-to-pay,” or “tap-and-go,” most contactless POS devices use near-field communications (NFC) technology to establish a connection with each customer’s card or mobile device.
A brief history of contactless payment systems
Contactless payment technology has been around for decades. For example, South Korean commuters could wirelessly pay for bus fare as early as 1995. In 1997, Mobil introduced a similar concept – enabling motorists to refill and pay at its gas stations.*
Yet, even before touchless commerce technology existed, many retailers offered some form of “contactless pickup” in which customers park outside a store while employees load previously purchased items. Grocery stores often use this contactless pickup option – especially when servicing older or disabled customers.
Why every business should accept contactless payment
Merchants who accept contactless payments can realize the following benefits:
Faster transactions - Customers do not need to enter a PIN or provide a signature when making a payment at a contactless POS device. This allows merchants who accept contactless payment to process more transactions faster and reduce customer wait times.
Greater customer satisfaction - More convenient and faster transactions lead to more satisfied customers, who in turn are more likely to return and use their cards or mobile wallet more frequently.
Improved operational efficiency - Speedier transactions reduce the number of cashiers needed while increasing the volume of transactions per cashier.
Consumers also benefit from contactless payment systems:
Speedy, convenient payments - No need to swipe or insert cards, enter PINs, or sign.
Great alternative to cash and cards with a mobile wallet - No more need to carry these items to make purchases.
Contactless payment systems are more hygienic
In addition to being faster and more convenient, contactless technology is the most hygienic of all in-person payment options because it doesn’t require any direct contact at the point of sale. There is no need to pass cards between consumers and merchants, type PINs into keypads, or use styluses handled by multiple consumers.