In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all reconsidering how we do things. Over the course of a few short weeks in the spring of 2020, new realities reshaped our thinking. We became acutely aware of viruses and the role that contact plays in their spread. As a result, demand for technologies that eliminate contact and alleviate the fears of consumers and merchants skyrocketed.
In March 2020, about 38% of consumers said they viewed contactless as a basic need or feature of payments—up from 30% before the pandemic. It’s too early to understand the long-term effects of social distancing, stay-at-home orders and a closed economy on consumer lifestyles and behavior.
But it’s clear that the pandemic-related surge in contactless payments will not reverse after the pandemic fears subside. One compelling reason is that, according to industry research, about 65% of U.S. merchant locations accept contactless payments. Contactless payment capability can power a better customer experience. In addition to eliminating the risk of contagion through contact with cash, payment terminals and other surfaces, it can be faster, easier and more convenient.
To drive adoption, the payment industry needed consumers to try contactless payments once, knowing that the benefits would speak for themselves. The pandemic sparked that trial, and now consumers are increasingly adopting this payment experience.
Contactless technology has fully emerged
While still considered an emerging technology by some, up to 80% of consumers globally use contactless credit and debit cards, and for roughly half that number, tap-and-go cards occupy their top-of-wallet position.
Consumers want it, merchants support it and issuers can no longer afford the luxury of time. Keeping your card top of wallet with cardholders means staying ahead of a flattening curve. The good news is, as a result of the U.S. EMV liability shift of 2015, you probably already issue chip-enabled cards, which means you are halfway to offering customers the security and convenience of dual interface.
Dual-interface cards offer consumers a choice of payment technologies—contact (EMV chips) and contactless (tap-and-go antennae). The flexibility of payment options is one of many reasons why dual-interface cards are widely considered the default card payment technology moving forward. Here are a few more benefits of dual-interface cards:
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