Is contactless the new normal?

Contactless payment is and has been on the rise for some time and with COVID-19 the interest both from customers and merchants accelerated significantly. Whether or not we are heading for a completely cashless society, only time will tell, but fact remains – contactless payments is here to stay. In this article, we will go through the key principles and benefits of contactless payments.

What is contactless payment?

Contactless payment occurs when the consumer pays with a credit or debit card, smartphone or other device that uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) or near field comonlmunication (NFC) to make secure payments. As the word “contactless” indicates – there is no physical contact between the merchants payment terminal (or other) and the consumers payment card/device.

How does contactless work?

As noted, the technology behind contactless card payments is known as Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFID), and this was later developed into the Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology used by mobile devices. Here is how it works: contactless-enabled cards and devices contain a chip that emits radio waves over a short range. These radio waves allow payment information to be transmitted to a payment terminal when the card or device is held near to it. A common concern with contactless payments is security. Merchants want to be sure that they are offering customers a safe payment method, in our article about contactless and security we go in-depth into this topic.

How does it work with card contactless payment?

If the customer has a credit or debit card with the contactless payment symbol, he/she can pay by simply putting the card next to the indicated spot on the payment terminal and wait for the beep. To protect the customer, there are limits to contactless payment: as of a certain amount, the customer needs to re-enter his/her per pin code. Due to COVID-19, many countries have increased these limits (the amount that can be paid without using pin a code). Below a table with the most up to date limits for contactless payment without pin code.

Limits for contactless payment in different countries without need to enter pin code.

Belgium
Germany
The Netherlands
Switzerland
50 EUR
50 EUR
50 EUR
80 CHF
*disclaimer these figures are subject to change.

How does it work with mobile contactless payment?

As a merchant, if you want to accept mobile payments in-store you have two main options: a QR code system or a payment terminal set up for NFC-enabled smartphone wallets.

Mobile payment
QR code system: A unique QR code for your business can either be displayed at the till, on the terminal, or viewed on the merchants smartphone. The customer scans the code with his/her smartphone (having first downloaded a QR code app), checks if the transaction details and merchant information are correct, and then authorizes the payment.
NFC-based payment system: Customers can use a NFC (Near-Field Communication) enabled smartphone device – pre-configured with their payment details – to pay at a contactless payment terminal.

The benefits for end customers The consumer also benefits from contactless payment :

• An increasingly fast and seamless check-out and payment experience.
• No pin code or contact with the merchant payment device. This will limit the customers touchpoints in-store.
• No need to hand over the card to pay for something, which potentially lets someone see the cards digits.

The benefits for merchants

Customers love the speed and convenience of paying with a simple tap, and retailers appreciate that it cuts down on queues, allowing them to serve more customers in a faster way. Contactless is also increasingly versatile: from digital wallet apps on smartphones, to key fobs, watches and stickers, contactless payments are no longer only done by credit or debit cards. This way, it is easy for the merchant to futureproof his/her business. In COVID-19 times, it is also helpful to minimize physical contact. In order to promote contactless payment in-store, we created a free printable signage to inform customers that you accept contactless.

Key take-outs

Contactless payment is here to stay. Contactless is the new normal. It is for many customers the preferred payment method and no wonder:
• It is simple, fast and secure.
• Payment limits without pin code have increased, securing 100% contactless experience.
• It enables credit and debit cards as well as mobile wallet payment.

Get in contact today and futureproof your business by accepting contactless payments now. We will help you to find the best contactless payment solution that fits YOUR needs.