Friday, December 2, 2022

    How retailers and payments providers are helping consumers shop safely

    How retailers and payments providers are helping consumers shop safely

     Firms are trying to minimize contact with others and shared surfaces to limit the spread of the coronavirus by altering the in-store payment process.

    Global Contactless Volume

    Business Insider Intelligence

    • Mastercard is pushing merchants to stop requiring signatures at checkout, which would eliminate the need to touch a shared surface. The card network reportedly sent a letter to banks requesting that they remind merchants that signature authorization is no longer required, per The Wall Street Journal. Mastercard, Visa, American Express, and Discover all moved away from signatures by 2018 — though there are still some cases where they’re required, like Visa transactions with merchants that don’t use chip cards. But some merchants still ask for them, perhaps because they still want signatures or they haven’t updated their point-of-sale (POS) technology. However, the pandemic and encouragement from card networks could see signature authentication fully fall out of use.
    • Walmart is enabling QR code payments that allow consumers to pay by only touching their smartphones. The retailer announced that customers who set up Walmart Pay, its digital wallet, in the Walmart app can scan a QR code to pay at checkout when using self-checkout. Previously, they would have had to tap a screen to initiate the process. Other retailers and digital wallets may follow Walmart’s lead during the pandemic to give consumers a payment option that requires no contact with shared surfaces and keeps their customers and employees safe.
    • Countries are raising their contactless transaction volume limits, allowing more payments to be made with just a tap. Australia is joining the growing number of countries raising the maximum value at which a contactless transaction can be made without any additional authentication, per NFC World. This limits the need for steps that force consumers to touch a shared surface, like entering a PIN or inserting a chip, potentially encouraging them to make contactless transactions while they try to avoid spreading the virus.

    These changes are geared toward limiting potential exposure to the coronavirus, but they could affect how consumers make payments long after the pandemic fades. If merchants stop requiring signatures, the form of verification may never come back, especially since signature transactions are less secure than alternative options like PIN transactions.

    Meanwhile, if QR code and contactless payments can offer a faster payment experience than chip-and-PIN transactions with a card, it’ll give consumers who start using these payment methods during the pandemic a reason to stick with them once it’s over. Combined, it’s looking increasingly likely that payment methods and processes that limit contact will prove popular not only during the pandemic but in the years following it as well.

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