If you’ve ever been waiting in line to pay and seen a customer wave or tap her debit card near a payment terminal to buy something, you’ve seen contactless payment. Many stores are moving to make payment easier for their customers—by eliminating the need for cash and allowing payment with a variety of devices, including everything from iPhone and Android smartphones to wearable devices primarily used for fitness tracking.
These transactions are possible because of something called near-field communication (NFC), a special payment technology that allows a card to receive and transmit information securely over a short distance when the cardholder makes a payment. Only requiring about 4 cm of distance between the card and card reader, NFC is fast and easy, allowing purchasers the ability to move through more quickly without entering a pin number and without requiring a signature.
Although contactless transactions are gaining in popularity and are an improvement to radio-frequency identification (RFID), many cardholders still question the security and benefits of contactless transactions.
Benefits of Contactless Payment
Challenges of Contactless Payment
For customers who make a lot of quick, digital payments as part of a daily routine, using contactless payment makes sense—it’s faster, allows users to multitask with capability on other devices, and is a more secure transaction in many ways. For larger, more calculated purchases or in situations where a connection may be tenuous, it’s a good plan to have a debit card or credit card available for more conventional use (swiping or inserting). Users should speak with their issuing bank and research the specific form of contactless payment that may works for their use. Although it’s a complex technology, contactless payment has the ability to bring simplicity to many aspects of customer transactions.