Contactless payments are safer, and a lot more convenient

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COVID-19 has driven the rise of contactless payments as consumers find ways to avoid physical touch and the handling of cards, cash or POS terminals.

According to research from the National Retail Federation and Forrester, no-touch payments have increased for 69% of retailers since January. Of those that offer contactless payments to customers, 94% expect the demand to continue increasing over the next 18 months.

In order to keep up with this change in consumer behavior, several retailers are making headlines with contactless and mobile payment concepts that are driving the acceleration of a touchless customer experience. These payment methods are now at the forefront of retail innovation and will in all likelihood remain prominent well into the future.

Let’s explore how recent announcements are driving a new approach to a contactless customer experience – one that provides the flexibility, speed and convenience customers expect.

Major retailers are making the smart and necessary move to launch contactless payments. For example, CVS announced that it is driving contactless payments with PayPal and Venmo. Shortly after, Kroger launched its NFC payment pilot, accepting Apple Pay, Google Pay, mobile banking apps, and more. This means that shoppers can simply use their smart devices for a touch-free way to checkout, avoiding any card or cash transactions.

Besides providing a safe, sanitary no-touch payment option for consumers, there are other advantages to contactless payments too. Waiting in a checkout line is one of the largest pain points within a physical store, and touchless options provide shoppers a more seamless and faster experience. However, while it’s important to experiment with new payment concepts, it’s equally essential to find the right tech that fits well with a retailer’s specific format and unique shoppers’ needs.

A perfect example of this point comes in the form of Amazon’s recently announced smart Dash Cart. The Dash Cart links with the shopper’s Amazon account to track the items placed inside, complete with a built-in coupon scanner and Amazon’s Alexa shopping list feature. The thing is, the Dash Cart is limited to smaller shopping trips and is only available in Amazon-owned stores. So while innovative, this means Amazon’s cart still doesn’t provide an answer to contactless checkout for most retail segments.

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