Contactless Payments Revisited

Do you see this symbol at check-outs?

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Do you know what it means? Does it work all the time?

It means that the check-out terminal hardware supports contactless payments. It doesn’t mean that the merchant supports contactless payments.

I covered contactless payments a couple of years ago but there has been a lot of progress since then.

Contactless payments come in two main forms — a smartphone app or contactless technology embedded directly into the card.

The smartphone technology is known as Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay (not covered by this article). Of course, Apple can’t make it simple. On an iPhone the app that manages it is Wallet. Here is how to do it on your iPhone and here is how to do it on your Android phone.

All platforms will walk you through adding your credit cards to their app. But you may find that not all of your cards are supported on all platforms. For example, my primary credit card is supported by both Apple and Google. However, my bank’s debit card is supported only by Apple.

After you add your card to the app, you’ll probably have to interact with the issuer to confirm that you really want to add the card to the smartphone. Generally, that’s an easy text message or automated phone call.

To use your iPhone with Face ID, double-click the side button, glance at your iPhone to unlock it, then hold the top of your iPhone close to the check-out terminal for a few seconds. When you’re done paying, a blue check mark will appear on the screen.

To use your iPhone with Touch ID, rest (don’t press) your finger on Touch ID to unlock your phone, then hold the top of your iPhone close to the check-out terminal for a few seconds. When you’re done paying, a blue check mark will appear on the screen.

To use your Android phone to pay, unlock your phone, then hold the back of your phone close to the check-out terminal for a few seconds. When you’re done paying, a blue check mark will appear on the screen.

Recently, U.S. card issuers have begun offering contactless cards. If your card is capable, it will have this symbol on it.

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If your card is equipped with contactless technology simply hold it near the card reader to complete your transaction. However, my experience is that 100% of the check-out terminals that have this symbol DON’T actually support contactless cards. That should change over time.

Contactless cards are still rolling out in the U.S. Only 1 of the 3 cards that I primarily use support contactless.

There are reference articles here (archive.is) and here (archive.is).

Originally published at https://blog.benmoore.info.

Written by

IT professional, Formula 1 fan

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