The contactless takeover: No-touch tech will be key to reopening businesses

Mobile payments are taking off. Contactless solutions are coming to restaurants, the movies, and your favorite stores.


May 12, 2020

Here’s one sign that Americans might have been a bit slow to embrace contactless payments: Visa had to recruit pro athletes like Zach and Julie Ertz to show us not-jacked humans how easy the tap-and-go is.

It may have once occupied a niche in the US, but contactless tech is about to break out.

As more businesses reopen, customers will use contactless tools to place orders and buy goods, and companies will use them to put their patrons’ health-related fears at ease.

Mobile payments are already taking off:

  • Mastercard’s CEO said recently that his company saw contactless payments jump 40% in the 1st quarter of 2020.
  • An American Express survey found that contactless payments were gaining in popularity, with cash and card swipes on the decline.

Here are a few places where you might see contactless options next.

1. In the checkout line

Modern Retail reported that contactless options will be key to stores’ reopening plans. Kohl’s is encouraging customers to pay through its app “to make the checkout experience as contactless as possible.”

Steve Villegas, a VP at the payments company PPRO, told Modern Retail that companies who don’t embrace these types of digital payments “will struggle for consumer adoption.”

2. At the movies

Say goodbye to the pimpled teenager who scoops your bag of popcorn.

A major theater chain in South Korea replaced its human staff with robots and self-serve solutions — think automated snack bars and unmanned ticketing systems.

For all the tweens out there who think it could be the perfect time to sneak into an R-rated flick — it might not be so easy. Audiences may have to scan their IDs to see movies restricted to certain age groups.

3. At your favorite restaurant

Eateries are rolling out digital menus and app-based ordering systems to keep diners safe.

Fast food could look very different: a McDonald’s in the Netherlands is testing out meal trolleys and thinking about table service. And a table-booking system will be tested at one of Italy’s classic restaurants — Burger King.

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