As soon as this spring, riders of NYC subways and buses will be able to tap a contactless bank card or mobile wallet at turnstiles. The developments portends a future of contactless payments that is already commonplace outside the U.S.
In fact, fewer and fewer adults are using printed or minted U.S. currency any more. About 3 in 10 Americans said they make no purchases with cash in a typical week, up from a quarter in 2015, according to the Pew Research Center. For now, paper currency still remains the most frequent method of payment in the country overall, representing roughly 31 percent of all consumer transactions, more than electronic, credit, debit or checks. Still, contactless cards are considered much more secure. They are embedded with a near-field communication antenna that can be used for proximity payments via radio waves. To make a payment, consumers just tap the card to a point-of-sale terminal.