Progressive Payment Solutions

How and Why to Accept Contactless Credit Cards

Contactless credit card payments are fast, secure, and easy. Find out how they work, how to accept them, and how they can benefit your business. 

If you were to find a credit card from several decades ago, it might not look that much different than one issued today: the same 3.37 inches width, 2.125 inches in height, with likely 16 embossed numbers, your name, and expiration date.

While there have been some changes, this same look continues to be common for the millions of credit cards issued each year.

However, what has definitely changed is how they function: new attributes, security features, and new ways to use them. This includes contactless credit cards. How do they work? What makes them unique? And how can your business accept them? Let’s find out. We’ll start with a look at what they are. 

What is a contactless credit card and how do they work?

Even though the process is still the same – how the transaction information is shared with various banks and other parties – the way that information is captured has changed a lot.

That’s because credit card technology has made things easier and safer. This includes the RFID chip that is placed in contactless credit cards. This chip emits short-range electromagnetic waves that contain your credit card information. 

These waves are picked up by a POS system when placed within two to three inches, thus transferring the needed information to complete the credit card transaction. This is the same technology behind NFC payments that we talked about before.

Sometimes called “tap to pay” or “tap and go” payments, this way to pay has exploded in popularity in recent years, with a 40% increase in use from just a year ago according to a Mastercard survey

How do I know if my credit card is contactless?

Even though this way to pay is on the rise, that doesn’t mean every credit card contains the “tap and go” RFID technology.

So how can you know if your card is contactless ready?

One easy way to know is if the card has the contactless payment symbol. This symbol resembles a rotated WiFi symbol and may be found on either the front or back of your card. This same symbol is displayed on a contactless POS system.

Here is what the contactless payment symbol will look like:

The contactless payment symbol is found on either the front or back of a contactless credit card
The contactless payment symbol is found on either the front or back of a contactless credit card.

What does my business need to accept them?

Fortunately, contactless credit card technology has become very commonplace. That means it is well established, which has lowered costs and made it a common feature on countless POS devices and systems.

Many contactless-ready POS systems will feature a small rectangle that faces the customer that serves as the receiver to the RFID chip. 

When the time comes for the customer to pay, they simply hover their contactless card within two inches of this pad, where the receiver reads the information to complete the transaction. A ‘beep’ confirming that the information was received from the card is heard, and that’s all it takes to complete the transaction.

(Need a recommendation on a good machine that will accept contactless payments? Have a look at our recommendations here).

While the process is simple, you may have questions or issues as you get started. Make sure your credit card processor is able to provide you with the best service in case you need help setting up your equipment or if you have any problems along the way.

Are contactless credit cards safe?

As is often the case, new technology can make people nervous. They may reason that any person can just walk near you and pick up the RFID frequency emitted by a contactless credit card.

However, this fear isn’t founded in fact. This is because there is a unique, one-time code for each transaction that goes with the payment information that gets sent to the card-processing network. Thanks to its unique design, it reduces any risk of fraud because it can never be used again.

In fact, contactless transactions are safer than traditional magnetic-stripe “swipe” transactions. That’s because magnetic stripe transactions can be captured by a skimming device and then be duplicated in order to be used again. However, this isn’t possible with contactless credit cards.

Not only that, but contactless credit card payments are safer for your health as well, since there is no physical contact necessary to complete the transaction. And no physical contact means no transmission of germs or viruses such as COVID-19 at the commonly-used POS.

Are there benefits to accepting them for my business?

There are virtually no downsides to accepting contactless payments–only benefits. Let’s take a look at a few:

A better customer experience

Since contactless card payments are easier, your customers are likely to prefer this method of payment. And if you offer your customers what they prefer, they’re going to be more likely to return to you.

Healthier transactions

As addressed earlier, no contact means less germs and viruses transmitted. And as the recent pandemic has shown us, having the health of your customers in mind will foster their loyalty.

Greater security

The security features offered by contactless payments can foster a reputable reputation for your business. Consumers are 2.4x more likely to view a merchant as reputable if they offers contactless payment, according to research from Visa.

More efficient for your business

Because the process is simpler and faster, your business will have shorter lines and a lesser likelihood of abandoned sales.

Future-proof your payment systems

The same research from Visa mentioned above also mentioned how 74% of US in-person transactions occur at contactless-enabled locations. In other words, the future of payments will likely continue to be contactless. 

Summary

With all of the benefits offered, accepting contactless credit cards is a no-brainer. They are easier, more secure, and faster. Not only that, accepting them is easy–all your POS system needs is a contactless receiver to pick up the frequency emitted from the RFID chip in the credit card. 

Accepting them means making it easier for your customers to pay in the way they prefer–which is always a wise choice.

Progressive Payment Solutions wants your business to have everything needed to move forward. Contact us to help you immediately save on credit card processing fees while we offer service and support that’s second to none.