2012: Breakout Year for Contactless Payments?

Technology looks to overcome “chicken vs. egg” syndrome

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The “dizzying” rate of change in the retailing industry is the subject of a new report from Retail Customer Experience and its 2011 list of the “Top 100 Retailers, Issues and Trends that are Making an Impact.”

Weighing in a No. 25: Contactless Payments.

“What’s not to love about contactless payments?” asks the publication. “By eliminating the need to fumble for cash or even give a thought to how much antiquated currency they have in their wallets, consumers enjoy added speed and convenience, while issuers and merchants enjoy faster transaction times, increased spending per transaction and reduced operational costs.

“Yet, in the United States at least, contactless payments have been stuck in a chicken vs. egg loop for years: Customers have been slow to adopt near-field communication (NFC)-equipped smartphones or [to] utilize the contactless payment cards they already carry in their wallets, so retailers have been reluctant to install the necessary equipment or actively promote its use.

“Millions of U.S. consumers already are paying for low-cost purchases using NFC-enabled debit cards, with millions more expected this year in response to new financial industry-backed initiatives slated to launch nationwide. Stay tuned.”

[Click here to read the complete “2011 Top 100 Retailers, Issues and Trends That are Making an Impact” report.]