Leaders that were predictable psyched about what they saw as the transformative power of this technology.
"It's just a very exciting time," said Dan Sanford, Visa's global leader of contactless payments, a small group of reporters. "It's fast, it's safe, and it's seamless for the customer."
In recent years, much of the attention in the world of payment has been aimed at mobile devices, with Apple, Google and Samsung making it possible to pay on the registry by turning the phone or smartwatch. Now, the same radio technology that enables mobile payments is finally on a credit and debit card scale in the United States.
You just wave your card in front of a payment terminal and you're done. No more swiping, no dipping.
And yes, we Americans know this is far from a new technology, with countries like Canada, the UK, South Korea, China and Australia offering contactless cards for many years. Also, this is not even the first time contactless cards were attempted in the United States.
Despite this waiting time, US banks, payment networks, transit agencies and dealers are no less thrilled with the change. They expect roll-out of contactless cards to lead to a major shift in consumer behavior, speeding up transactions, and changing the way we shop and commute every day.
Apple and Google board aboard the tap-to-pay cart and hope its popularity will encourage more people to use mobile payments such asand Google Pay. All of these finance and technology companies hope that the simplicity of the loss-to-pay will bring more customers using these payment platforms instead of cash, and hopefully get them to trade more.
"When you make it easy, it really locks the potential for the consumer spends more," Linda Kirkpatrick, merchant executive and Mastercard acceptance, said in an interview.
The shift is already starting and the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority is turning on contactless payments this Friday, this transition is expected to take place in high equipment, since this year continues, and several banks issue contactless cards.Chase has already sent out 20 million contactless credit cards, and Visa expects that 100 million Visa contactless cards will be issued by the end of the year
But it is easy to be skeptical of this change. Contactless cards came to the United States about a decade ago and failed to take off, so few dealers accepted them. These cards have been delayed for a long time since then, exacerbated by the huge size and complexity of the US market.
Google, Apple and Samsung have been trying for years to make people use mobile payments – four years ago, the big new thing – but the adoption continues to be slow. The last time the US payment industry pushed a big change for consumers, there was a switch from magpie strips to smart cards in 2015.
This transition made payments safer, but customers who didn't know whether to swipe or dip when paying and had to wait longer to complete a transaction when using a smart card. Payment companies hope to fix these issues this time, supported by faster transaction speeds, while offering the same level of security as smart cards.
Nevertheless, payment companies can only end up introducing yet another way of paying that even confuses their customers.
Changing consumption habits may be notoriously difficult, but payment experts predict transit will be a major driver of loss-to-pay adoption. Visa and Mastercard managers said they have already seen this transition work in other countries when contactless cards are introduced.
Together with New York's MTA, Portland has already turned on contactless payments with its Hop Fastpass transit card in 2017, and Chicago has offered its contactless Ventra transit system for five years. As with MTA, both offer mobile payment options, and several US transportation systems are expected to join this list soon.
With MTA's new OMNY contactless system, riders no longer have to carry separate transit cards or wait in long lines to reload funds during rush hour. Instead, they will be able to print their contactless cards or smartphones at a turn and go. This change should result in fewer lines, fewer lost trains and fewer lost transit cards.
"You can argue for contactless will be evolutionary in retail," said Sanford visa. "For transit, it's totally transformational."
The positive transit experience is expected to encourage people to continue to tap to pay the whole day and help push adoption into contactless restaurants and shops.
The new OMNY system will help MTA reduce maintenance costs for its large MetroCard payment stations and provide much-needed underground space as it removes the machines from stations.
"My problem with contactless and mobile wallets in general is that it didn't solve a problem," said Rivka Gewirtz Little, a research analyst at IDC research firm. "We are starting to see that it actually happens."
however, face a setback from local politicians, among other things because these sites discriminate against customers without bank accounts, including lower income people and teenagers. To avoid a similar situation, MTA expires its MetroCard slowly, with availability until 2023. After that, MTA will still sell its own contactless cards that can be used for the OMNY system.
MTA starts with Offering Single Routes using the Bank-to-Pay system, with availability of a limited number of trains and buses. By the end of next year, the contact solution will go system-wide, and MTA plans to offer different price options, such as student prices and popular monthly passes.
In addition, on Thursday, Mastercard announced a new Fareback Friday program, which gives cardholders a free MTA ride (up to two per card per day) if they click to pay. The program will run every Friday in June and July and will be available on 4, 5 or 6 lines between the Grand Central and the Atlantic Avenue Barclays Center.
Mobile payments can be left behind
Right now, 80 of the 100 US American retailers are already accepting contactless payments, Visa said. Payment companies are now working hard to drive interest in loss-to-pay, with Visa putting together a huge TV ad campaign with New York Giants & # 39; Eli Manning & Saquon Barkley showing tap-to-pay in stores and vending machines.  tap-to-pay-card-contact-free  tap-to-pay-card-contactless-1 [demo] of a new crane-and-go transport turn.
Ben Fox Rubin / CNET
But despite the technology company's excitement about this transition, contactless cards cannot convince many to start using mobile payments. Visa, for example, said almost half of face-to-face transactions outside the US are already contactless, but 90% of transactions in mature markets are short, not phones. Visa and Mastercard say they don't pick pages between cards and phones, saying they will only give customers the choice – as long as those choices don't include money.
There has been a struggle for mobile payments from the beginning. American customers are just more comfortable using cards or cash, and have not seen enough benefits from mobile payments to justify changes in their ways. In a way, contactless cards are an admission that mobile payments have not gained as much popularity as hoped. Otherwise they would not be needed.
In China, nearly 80% of smartphone users made a mobile payment transaction within six months, according to an eMarketer study. By comparison, only 25% of US customers, partly because of US dealers' slow adoption of contactless technology.
For its part, Apple has pointed to robust growth for Apple Pay, with CEO Tim Cook, who reported last month's transaction volume more than doubled from the previous year.
All attention to contactless offers absolutely another potential spark for Apple Pay and Google Pay. The ability to pay with Apple Watch on a transit shift without having to slow down can also attract more customers.
"Contactless short adoption and wearables," says Little, "will run how open we are to mobile letters.
First published at 05.00 PT.
Updated at 07:09 PT: Adds review by Mastercard Fareback Friday program.