Contactless Payments Continue to Rise In Retail

Aug. 10, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated greater acceptance of cashless payments as many consumers hope to reduce contact by choosing not to use cash to pay for food and beverages. Another trend is surfacing as a result of the pandemic due to consumers' continued concerns about hygiene and safety: Contactless payments are on the rise in retail.

While operators in convenience services have long battled various barriers to adoption of cashless and contactless payments — such as the need to educate consumers on how to download and use a mobile payment app and the overall investment in purchasing and implementing technology across accounts — the pandemic may lessen these barriers as other retail outlets increase usage for cashless and contactless payments. As consumers grow more comfortable with these types of payments, it opens the door for micro markets to have greater acceptance in public and semi-public locations.

PayPal recently announced that CVS Pharmacy is the first national retailer integrating both PayPal and Venmo QR code technology in their checkout systems. This partnership will enable touch-free payments in over 8,000 CVS locations by the end of 2020.

"In the midst of COVID-19, we have seen an incredible acceleration of digital payments and touch-free payments," said Mark Britto, Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer, PayPal. "Companies of all types and sizes are looking for ways to maintain the safety of their customers and employees, especially through touch-free experiences like curbside pickup and enhanced online shopping. QR codes complement these and provide retailers an additional payment method that furthers this touch-free mission and continues the growth of digital payments for all partners in the ecosystem. The essential nature of pharmacies makes CVS Pharmacy the perfect initial partner for PayPal and Venmo QR Codes – and we're proud to help their customers stay safe while purchasing what they need."

Kroger also recently announced the launch of a pilot program for contactless payments in its QFC division in Seattle, Wash. Using near-field communication (NFC) technology, customers will be able to pay with their mobile phone for a seamless, touch-free checkout experience using various forms of payment including Apple Pay, Google Pay and mobile banking apps. Consumers may also pay with contactless chip cards in a "tap and pay" option.


Mike Lawlor is the vice president of sales at USA Technologies Inc., based in Malvern, Pa.
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