Contactless payments in the US? Consumers prefer plastic
July 17, 2013

U.S. consumers are moving toward a cashless future, with many choosing to use plastic at the point of sale for financial security. As consumer awareness of innovative purchasing methods like mobile payments rises and more companies in Europe install "tap-and-go" or "wave-and-pay" card readers, many credit card issuers are predicting contactless purchases may see widespread adoption in the U.S. in the near future. If contactless cards do become more common, small and medium-sized businesses that use integrated payment systems to accept credit card payments are set to accept digital wallets.

Payment innovations promise less cash 
When a consumer reaches for his or her smartphone at the point of sale, the customer often has a digital credit card that SMBs can scan for payment. In parts of Europe, customers can place their mobile device on a store's tap-and-go reader. According to Engineering and Technology Magazine, contactless payments are still in their early phases of global awareness, with countries like the U.K. adopting the purchasing option ahead of others. 

With mobile phone vendors including near-field communication technology in many of their new gadgets, more consumers have access to the technical innovation. According to E&T, NFC has many encryption challenges and other types of mobile payment methods that have end-to-end encryption like external credit card readers are more secure. 

According to Bankrate, contactless payments is a 25 percent faster payment method than cash. Yet, while many consumers prefer a speedy checkout, contactless transactions may not reach mainstream levels unless consumers become more aware of and ask to use the transaction option. 

Mobile payments will rise
Customers continue to demand payment innovations. Liz Garner, director of commerce and entrepreneurship at the National Restaurant Association, told E&T that customers are becoming more enthusiastic about using not only plastic but mobile payments as well. 

"Our research shows that there's strong consumer demand for table-side ordering systems and mobile payment options," Garner said. "Both technologies are still relatively young and are just coming to market. With these systems consumers have new opportunities to order remotely so that your food or beverage may be waiting for you when you walk in the store, thus increasing convenience."

SMBs in the U.S. that have already implemented mobile payment processing are set to accept numerous types of digital wallets. However, it may be too soon to tell whether contactless payments will come into widespread acceptance in the U.S.

Nexus: G-WEBCD2