Debit card convenience will only improve from here thanks to the gradual introduction of contactless payment options.
While most people are used to swiping or inserting their cards into EFTPOS machines, both MasterCard and Visa have developed systems where people simply need to tap their debit cards to a machine and wait for the transaction to be complete.
The system is already in place at selected locations around Australia, with some of the biggest merchants on board, including:
- JB Hi Fi
- Bunnings Warehouse
- Woolworths and Caltex; and
Others are bound to follow the lead of these companies and set up MasterCard’s PayPass or Visa’s payWave technology for their checkouts.
At the moment only cardholders with PayPass- or payWave -activated cards can take advantage of the technology.
The new cards have contactless payment logos on them, similar to wireless internet symbols, and all banks are gradually introducing these options to new and existing customers.
Anyone who applies for a new debit card, for example, will probably get one that has the option of contactless payments.
Current cardholders, on the other hand, can either request an updated card or wait for their current debit option to expire and a new one to come in the mail.
Either way, people will find themselves with this option in the future and both MasterCard and Visa hope it will speed up the in-store payment process.
Contactless Payment Phone Apps
Contactless card technology is already implemented in other parts of the world, including Europe and the US, with developments leading to even more payment options.
The next big thing for Australians is smartphone applications that allow you to make payments from your phone.
The Commonwealth Bank, for example, launched an app for iPhones in October 2011 that uses the same communications system as contactless cards to pay for purchases.
The aptly names “Kaching” means Commbank customers can use their iPhones for purchases in store as long as the phone is within 4 centimetres of the payment processing machine.
With technology like this set to come from other banks in the future, it looks like contactless payments are here to stay in every way.