Developers are pushing the evolution of payments accessibility and efficiency with a new update that would see phones become payments terminals. Payments is always evolving, streamlining the user experience for maximum convenience, security and reliability, so this move is no surprise.
Apple has been working on implementing this technology into their smartphone line since 2020 after acquiring Canadian startup Mobeewave for $100m. This latest innovation will put the tech giant in direct competition with established payment solutions firms such as Square which currently use intermediary payment products such as the Square Reader to accomplish the same thing.
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The rise of contactless payments has been swift. New data from Barclaycard reveals that 91.1% of card transactions in the UK were made contactlessly in 2021. In fact the total value of contactless payments made has increased by 40.2% year-on-year, while in the USA growth of almost 300% is expected over the next five years.
Much of this increase can be attributed to lessening restrictions. The contactless limit was more than doubled last October, increasing to from £45 to £100, resulting in the average number of contactless transactions made per day rising by 27.5%.
Rob Cameron, CEO of Barclaycard Payments, said: “The increase to the £100 payment limit has been a great opportunity to take friction out of the purchase experience. This is especially the case in busy stores where queues can quickly build up. Speed at the checkout will often avoid shoppers going elsewhere, which is why the limit increase is a win-win for cardholders and merchants.”
This rapid uptake in new technology is not always common. Convenience comes in different forms and for many people it is an imposition on their time to have to look into a new payment method despite contactless being up to ten times faster than traditional in-person payment methods.
Keeping up with technology, or in this case payment speed is something that not everyone will consider, perhaps other than when waiting for their card to clear. Although the increased convenience would have eventually led to the kind of statistics we are seeing above, the reduced timeframe is due to the threat of Covid-19.
Here payments managed to establish another clear advantage, in an area of security outside of the cyber realm; hygiene. Minimising, or in many cases eliminating, contact with payment terminals greatly reduces the chance of catching or transmitting pathogens associated with Covid-19 or other ailments.
Covid safe protocols also saw a drastic reduction in the number of merchants willing to accept cash and customers willing to pay for it, forcing both to adopt newer payments technology. This coincided with a greater push towards a ‘green recovery’ after the planet witnessed the effects of lessening rates of pollution caused by pandemic restrictions.
Minting new cash every year just isn’t as eco-friendly as digital currency, so it is likely that society will come to depend less on physical cash. Independence from so called “proper money” opens up the market for payments innovation, as well as cryptocurrency infiltration.
Once consumers were exposed to the convenience of contactless, the payment method became a global fixture in worldwide payment behaviour, something that innovative firms are looking to take advantage of.
If Apple’s plan comes to fruition, card to phone and soon phone to phone payments may become the norm, with android competitors sure to follow suit.
As many as 2.7bn contactless cards could be in circulation by 2023, so with maximum spend allowances increasing, consumer confidence rising and cryptosecurity advances, we can look forward to many exciting contributions towards a frictionless payments future.
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