Contactless is now 10 years old. Where will it be in another 10?

March 14, 2018

Since the release of the first ever contactless card back in 2007, the technology has become exceedingly popular among consumers and businesses in the UK, due to all the benefits contactless payments offer. Today, we’re a country where no one can imagine living without contactless. No retail tech sits still forever though. Here’s a brief look at where contactless tech is going in the future.

Contactless is paving the way for mobile payments

Although there were concerns about security when contactless was first launched, these cards have now carried us into a completely new era of retail experience. Customers are now happy to tap their cards, watches and phones on readers and are happy with the extra convenience this technology provides. So, what’s the next step? Some believe the answer is in smart clothing; jackets, jeans and even gloves have been developed that can incorporate contact technology, meaning consumers no longer need to carry a wallet, phone or a card to pay for goods.

The future for contactless cards

With so many people using contactless cards these days, many in retail think that any debates about payment methods are closed. However, there are many more who think that contactless cards are only a temporary thing. Now that many customers are happier to pay with their phone rather than their card, who’s to say that this trend won’t eventually swallow up the former. Consumers in Europe have grown up around credit and debit cards, although surprisingly, Apple Pay was only launched last October in Denmark, Finland, Sweden and UAE. In comparison some countries have embraced digital payments. China, for example, most shoppers rely on mobile payments, using barcodes from apps.
Contactless, although looked upon suspiciously at first, has largely been embraced by the population, especially with advances in technology, such as Apple Watch and Apple Pay, which make payments easier and more convenient than ever before. There are now over 100m contactless cards in existence in the UK, with overall spend reaching £3,913.3m in the financial year up to April 2017.
With new regulations like PSD2, the payments market is certainly poised for change. Perhaps, in future years, voice recognition or fingerprint technology could be tapped into as a payment method but, for now, when it comes to quick and easy payments, contactless is king. However, when it comes to important payments for larger value items or services, chip and PIN is still essential because of the £30 transaction limit.
We’re yet to see if technology will eventually help contactless payments evolve to overcome big payment security issues, but with the way things have progressed in recent years, it’s not worth ruling out.