Pay Away: On the Urgency and Rise of Contactless Payments

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Here’s how quickly something can change. If someone asked in February about the safest way to pay, the assumption would be they meant the most secure method. If someone asked in April, it’s possible they meant the most hygienic.

Contactless payment options like IVR, tap-to-pay, and mobile pay have gained steam in the wake of COVID-19, where fear of contraction has made using cash or touching PIN pads and touchscreens less appealing—matters of debate rather than reflex. Nevertheless, the request for a new payment journey started long before the pandemic upended our lives.

But in a time of rapid adoption and new norms, speed, security, ease of use, and safety coalesced around touchless methods to reframe them as the “cleanest,” even if that feeling is more psychological than anything. But numbers don’t lie, and at the end of April, Mastercard reported a 40% jump in contactless transactions in the first quarter.

And consumers are adapting rapidly—incorporating the technology and digital alternatives needed to keep their lives running even in lock-down, with a heavy focus on digital and contactless payments, as they seek to adhere to social-distancing protocols.

But this contactless quest doesn’t just apply to the B2C payments world. The publishing industry, for example, has been faced with finding solutions for newspaper and magazine deliveries to local delis and shops, where payment interactions need to be even briefer and more distanced than before. What was once a “maybe someday” feature has moved into the fast lane.

So then the question is—as it is through almost every window of the new normal—what happens next?

Faced with this accelerated trajectory, businesses should focus on streamlining processes, harnessing data, and rethinking the customer journey for a frictionless experience, adopting digital transformation while continuing to provide the most up-to-date safety and security requirements. However, businesses must continue to think long-term, looking beyond the current impacts of the pandemic to adopt a new strategy. One that allows for ease and flexibility, integrating existing best practices, while also incorporating the agility to adapt to whatever comes next.

We can’t know the full impact the current climate will have on the payments industry long term, but the data suggests that this contactless trend will likely continue in our post-pandemic world. According to a recent study, the Global Contactless Payments Market is expected to reach $24.99 billion by 2027, up from $8 billion in 2018. When we look back on this, we may see how “contactless” transitioned from a buzzword to a standard.

What this doesn’t mean is that other forms of payment will be gone forever. In a time of nuance, we’re all learning with even greater acuteness the difference between eliminating and limiting. EverView’s approach is to crack open new channels that make businesses ready for the demand to pay any way, anywhere, at any time—even the times we don’t see coming.

Remember, your business growth begins and ends with your customers. Are you ready?