The pandemic has accelerated contactless usage, including in the U.S. Visa and Mastercard reported 40% year-over-year global growth for tap-to-pay or contactless transactions in the first three months of this year.
PSCU, a U.S. credit-union service organization for payments, reported that over 12% of in-person transactions on contactless-enabled debit cards were by tap in late July and early August, up from about 8% in mid-January. But there remain roadblocks. Only around one third of U.S. debit cards will have near-field communication, or NFC, technology needed to tap by the end of year, according to a recent forecast by consulting firm Oliver Wyman. It also notes that some contactless transactions aren’t entirely touch-free, because some merchants’ terminals may also prompt keypad touches or signatures.