January 15, 2021


The Next Evolution in Contactless Payments

2020 made us all realize there are a lot of things we can live without.  Some things we miss-drinks with friends, hugging relatives, travel; some we found we might not be as necessary as we thought-meetings that should have been an email, standing too close to the next person in line, or touching every avocado to find the perfect one.

There is also one other thing we learned to live without, using cash or letting someone handle our credit card at checkout.

The value of social-distancing our method-of-payment has become paramount in modern times, so much so that contactless payments have gone up 150% in America compared to 2019.  We value not only our health, but that of everyone else.  A concept that is not new to humanity.  Since the first recorded use of medical practice by ancient Sumerians (circa 2100 BC), humans have continually evolved to make the world a better, cleaner place.  Contactless transactions are the next, small step we are taking.

What do we mean by contactless transactions?

  • NFC enable credit cards
  • Mobile applications
  • Digital wallets
  • Digital coupons
  • Digital receipts 

There is no longer a reason to handle cash, or even a credit card for that matter, in modern America and the like.  Full transparency, there is no reason to bring your wallet around with you anymore, but that is for another day.  Congress even agrees, passing the Touchless Transactions Act of 2020 to eliminate the need for signatures on receipts. 

There is however, one aspect of the checkout dynamic we decided to glance over, the proof of purchase, or in layman’s terms, the receipt.  However, retailers haven’t forgotten about your safety, they want to take care of that aspect as well.  Ajay Banga (CEO, Mastercard) acknowledges that customers are “looking for a quick way to get in and out of stores without exchanging cash, touching terminals, or anything else.”  Likewise, Jack Dorsey (CEO, Square) says “retailers are already planning strategies to give people a sense of a safe environment."

Now for the last piece of the puzzle, the receipt.  Right now, less than 15% in America give you the option to receive a “digital receipt”.  Why did we put quotes on that last part, well the “technology” of our time means a digital receipt comes via email or text message.  Technically digital, but far from technology. Ask yourself, “what filters do I have on my email and text messages for receipts?”  My personal answer is 0, nada.

Making the receipt (or coupon) truly contactless, and actually worthwhile, means going mobile, it means putting in a little effort.  There is no reason you should reach up to grab that dirty piece of paper and shove it in your pocket to throw away later.  Likewise, there is no reason you should need to sort though thousands of messages and emails to find the return slip for an item you purchased 9 months ago.  The next step in contactless payments is providing interactive, digital receipts, and its coming faster than you think.

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