Digital Wallet

The ‘Death of the Wallet’
Contactless Payments are transactions that are made by tapping one of your electronic devices such as your phone, computer, tablet or any portable devices via radio-frequency identification (RFID) or biometrics to ensure maximum security. You might also have heard the term NFC, which stands for “Near Field Communication” and is powered through RFID. This allows for secure purchases without worrying about which cards you have to walk with and the threat of losing these cards. Millions around the world have fallen in love with contactless payments beyond the convenience that it offers consumers as a result of the pandemic. One reason is the extra layers of cybersecurity and fraud controls provided to the customer and the businesses accepting this form of payment. From groceries to takeout meals and even fuel, this form of payment is definitely one that is worth paying attention to.

The Positive Impacts of Covid-19
When the coronavirus outbreak began, fears over the transmission of the disease have forced consumers to rethink how they shop, spend and pay. Contactless payments have been on the rise, but COVID-19 accelerated the need for and adoption of a safe, secure way to pay for everything without touching dirty and germ-laden surfaces. Banks like Republic Bank Limited have noticed the ‘new normal’ created by Covid-19 and capitalize on the trend. In the United States, overall usage of contactless payments, has risen 150% since March 2019. Notwithstanding, prior to the pandemic, banks were implicitly nudging customers toward contactless payments by offering rewards for using platforms like the recently launched Apple Card. When possible, it would be advisable to use contactless payments to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission,” a spokesperson for the World Health Organization said mid-April 2020.

Contactless payments are generally safe and secure despite the fraudsters who continue to advantage of regular consumers like you and me. As previously highlighted, contactless cards and devices contain an embedded chip and a radio frequency (RFID) antenna that provide a wireless link with the contactless reader. When the card or device is tapped against the reader, information is transmitted in a highly secure manner within a fraction of a second. The amazing and really groundbreaking aspect of these contactless cards are the ability to send the secure one-time-only code from the card to the reader (Point of Sale) terminal to identify the transaction. Additionally, cardholders benefit from multiple layers of security that work behind the scenes with every transaction to prevent payment fraud even before it can happen. According to Visa’s website, secure protocols, artificial intelligence, real time analytics, cryptographic algorithms and many more layers work together to prevent fraud. The real challenge for contactless payments is since you don’t need a PIN, a lost credit card or stolen device potentially gives a criminal easy access to your account. A phone without the proper security features in place makes it easy for anyone to ring up purchases without detection and without receipts, it would be difficult for the customer/owner to prove which transactions are fraudulent.

Touch and Go
All things considered, it is definitely the safer option and has been proven to be more sanitary and reduce the risk of the coronavirus transmission. Moreover, Mastercard reported a 40% growth in contactless transactions worldwide in the first quarter of 2020 alone. Reports also confirm that more than half of new tappers will continue to use contactless even after the pandemic. Contactless credit cards and payments are definitely buzzing and as more businesses add the technology and more consumers want to reduce physical contact as much as possible. These forms of transactions will only increase in and throughout Trinidad and Tobago.

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