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Contactless Payments

Contactless Payments

Contactless payments are a relatively new method of electronic card payment that enables a customer to simply swipe their card over a reader to pay for goods and services. Recent developments in the technology have also enabled payments to be taken from smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices.

The earliest examples of contactless payments began in the late 1990’s, where petrol stations in the U.S. adopted the technology in participating outlets. These were specific to the company itself and were used to cultivate loyalty with their customers by offering rewards, something that is now commonplace in other sectors.

Within ten years corporations such as Mcdonalds and Asda had began integrating it into their other payment methods. Eat was the first UK restaurant to implement the technology in 2008 and the hospitality industry has since become one of its biggest exponents. High street banks began offering contactless debit and credit cards by 2013 and it has since become the fastest growing payment system in the UK with innovations coming thick and fast.

To find out more about contactless payments and how you can begin accepting them, simply continue reading the content on this page. Otherwise, if you want to start comparing quotes today, just fill in the form at the top of the page.

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Where Can I Use Contactless?

Anywhere you see the contactless symbol you can use a contactless card. It can be used to pay for anything under the £30 security limit, which has recently increased from £20. Contactless is most popular in retail and hospitality industries, such as bars, restaurants and shops, but its popularity is growing into all business sectors where payments are appropriate, including vending machines and transport.

Benefits of Contactless Payments

Each transaction method contains inherent advantages and disadvantages and while there is no one perfect payment system to suit all customers or businesses, contactless is one of the most convenient and efficient.

Advantages For Business Owners

Efficiency and convenience are two of the most important qualities a payment system can have and contactless provides both. As the customer only need present the card, the transaction itself is extremely quick, meaning the customer need not be inconvenienced any more than necessary. For the business it can make a huge difference in efficiency, which can lead to increased income and less work.

Although there are some issues relating to security, due to the fact that it only works when in very close proximity to the reader, there is no signal to intercept, which is also the case with some chip and pin devices. As the card uses its own chip, no other details, other than what is visible on the card, are shared with the reader. Unlike many other payment cards, it also makes it nearly impossible to clone.

Disadvantages

Each card is limited to £30 purchase values, which can be restricting, depending on what you use it for. Although you can still access full chip and pin transactions so it is little more than a small inconvenience.

As it is a relatively new form of transaction, it is not accepted universally as yet but almost all industry insiders believe that this is a matter of time. Most new bank and credit cards come with a contactless chip and it is now being made possible to pay with smartphones and other electronic devices. For some businesses, however, it may make sense to hold off until the technology becomes truly commonplace.


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Contactless payments in one form or another are considered the future by most in the know, although it is entirely possible that the use of cards will be surpassed with other methods. Whether it will be Apple Watch, smartphones or some other device that carries contactless technology is difficult to predict, but as innovation increases in the field, it is likely security and convenience will improve in both the short and long term future.

The most recent innovation is in NFC (near field communication) devices, which now allow for two way communication between the device itself and the reader. This is the technology that is at the heart of smartphone payments, which is the fastest growing payment method in the UK at this time.

Whichever direction electronic payments take in the future, it will likely be crafted to take into consideration security requirements as well as convenience in international transactions. As the technology becomes cheaper, takes less energy to run and inherent in the devices we use for other tasks, contactless, in one form or another, is likely to be at the heart of it.

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