Contactless is king?

Working for a company who deals with means of payments, you continually ask yourself how habits in payments are changing, and how fast. And more specifically, how much longer the paper check will survive in this landscape (probably longer than anyone would have guessed 10 or 15 years ago). On one end of the range of available options, “Cash is king” – and the other extreme, fully digital e-payments which no longer rely on paper - or even plastic. And for the consumer or small/mobile business version of the latter, the expectation is to rely on smartphones, sooner or later; although statistics tell us that the adoption of Apple Pay, Google Pay and similar has proved to be slower than predicted.

Between those extremes, we find everything else – and among the world of plastic cards, the contactless card. In my opinion, the card is our current preferred option for small payment, your head rail: as long as, as a consumer, you accept to keep your means payment off your phone; nothing beats the convenience of a contactless card. Just tap & go: below a certain threshold it’s as easy as that. And above the threshold, enter your PIN, which I’m happy to do because it’s telling me that in case of theft, the crook will be able to “tap & steal” only below that threshold.

A phone app instead? An e-wallet? My honest question: why?!? Do you realize how much we already depend on our smartphones? Smartphones have become a universal tool and – as a consequence – an extremely dangerous single point of failure. Are you really going to leave home without a wallet (the most obvious reason why you wouldn’t be carrying a plastic card)? If so, think twice. If you lose that phone, even if you have a backup (and many of you certainly do); will you be able to recover everything without spending a single cent? And would you prefer that cent to reside on the phone you lost, or on something else?

Your smartphone is your contacts directory, your address book, your email repository, your flashlight, your map & navigator, your compass, your watch, your thermometer, your pedometer, your entertainment center, your daily newspaper, your e-book, your radio, your phone (yes, even that!), and probably several more. Keep your pocket money or its equivalent somewhere else – in an emergency, you may actually prefer it to be available elsewhere. And when you’re in a hurry…you may just prefer to tap & go.

 

Francesco Grasso
Corporate Marketing Manager, Panini

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