There was once a time where the most convenient way to buy something was with cash or a cheque. Nowadays, card transactions account for over two-thirds of all payments made by consumers. In the U.S. alone, thousands of billions of dollars get spent on cards per year.
And that’s a statistic repeated across other parts of the world too. Europe, in particular, has seen increasing usage of debit and debits cards for payments. These days, there is a new form of card-based purchasing that is gaining popularity. I am, of course, talking about contactless payments.
What are contactless payments?
It’s now possible to pay for small items without entering your PIN in a card reader. You can do this if you have a debit or credit card that has contactless technology enabled.
The way that such cards work is simple. When you want to buy something under a specific value, you “wave” the card over the reader. The machine then authorizes the payment without you needing to enter a PIN.
As you can imagine, it’s a handy way to buy small items like meals or train tickets. The payment process is faster than by other means; handy if you’re in a rush!
Why contactless payments are the future
As consumer confidence grows, so too will the use of contactless cards. One of the main bugbears of any transaction is the time it takes to complete an order. Even if you pay in cash, you still have to wait for your change.
But, with a contactless card, the transaction is almost instantaneous. Some vendors don’t provide card receipts unless you request them. That way, you can speed up the process even more (and be greener at the same time).
On a personal note, I’ve used contactless cards since their introduction. I’ve never had any issues with such transactions. And, it speeds up queues in stores.
What else can we expect from contactless payments?
At present, you need to have a debit or credit card to wave in front of contactless card readers. The future for contactless payment technology looks bright.
For example, card issuers are increasing the amounts you can have authorized per transaction. Another exciting development is the use of mobile payment technology.
In other words, you can expect to wave your smartphone as long as it is RFID-enabled. Soon, you might not even get issued with physical debit and credit cards!
I don’t know about you, but I like the thought of only needing to use my iPhone for buying a cup of coffee!
Is there a risk of fraud with contactless technology?
The sad truth is that no payment method is ever 100% free of fraud risks. With a contactless card, someone could steal your debit card without your knowledge. They could then buy things like fuel or fast food meals on it.
But, the good news is that fraud levels are low with contactless cards. When a customer discovers their card gets lost or stolen, the card can get blocked. As soon as that happens, no-one else can use it.