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What are the advantages of contactless payment?

The Science and Risks behind the Buzzword ‘Contactless’


More often than before, you must have heard about the buzzword ‘contactless’ this year. Even though it has found its existence, it is more popular than ever before these days. The entire credit for this goes to the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought us to a world we can safely assume to be dystopian. But, even as we continue to live and make space for ourselves, we have to embrace the new technologies that follow.

One such technology that is gaining traction these days is contactless payments. As the name suggests, contactless is a buzzword that has existed for a long time but has been popularized since last year due to the healthcare implications all over the world.

Embracing Contactless Payments

In simple terms, contactless payments mean that someone doesn’t have to wait in a long queue to swipe their card for the purchases they are making. In fact, the entire institution of touching, where cards have to be swiped is eradicated with contactless payments.

The precedence of using cards for transactions has been one of the best gifts of technology and proven value for customers. However, with the new norms and conditions in place, there was an impending need for a change that provides the customer with the convenience as before but also takes care of preventive measures of the coronavirus pandemic.

So, the next time you see someone tapping their phone on the purchase counter and walking away with their purchase, don’t worry! They are not running away with the purchase. Well, they might be, but be assured as they have paid the amount to the cashier.

But, as contactless payments seem to become the new normal, people are more interested in the technology that’s behind it. It’s amazing how we have found a solution to our problem and since it is technology, the solution comes as no surprise.

How does Technology work?

Contactless payments work by leveraging radio frequency identification or RFID technology. It is a widespread technology built upon the electromagnetic fields. In simple terms, contactless payments harness a memory chip for storing the data or the tags that follow the data. The point is how is the data interpreted and derived meaning from?

The idea is simple. The radio frequency identification or RFID readers are used to decide the message. Remember how Bluetooth works? Consider contactless payments similar to Bluetooth devices. All you need to do is place devices between which the transfer has to take place in the proximity of each other. And voila! The transfer will have taken place without any issues.

RFID is a technology that is extensively used in the supply chain and logistics industry. Right from tracking packages to managing inventory and collecting toll, contactless is the go-to for people in many key areas of life.

It is astonishing to wonder how this took a lot of time because contactless options have already existed in the world for a long time, but being leveraged for the payments sector only lately. In other words, contactless payments rely heavily on near-field-communication also known as the NFC. It is undoubtedly one of the most complex technologies that find their home in radio frequency identification.

The most significant difference between RFID and NFC is the distance at which the contactless facility takes place. While RFID can detect from a much longer distance, the NFC takes place only when something is in very near proximity. This distance is sometimes only a few centimeters.

This means if you were thinking that you’ll accidentally pay for someone else’s bills or transfer payment just by accident for goods and services you haven’t even purchased, don’t worry, this is not going to happen.

Risks of NFC Payments

Even as NFC becomes popular among customers and retailers, it has its shortcomings as well. No doubt that NFC is the underpinning technological advancement backing up services like Apple pay and Google pay. There are still more challenges that need to be overcome if everybody has to start using contactless payments.

For example, privacy concerns exist while using contactless payments. Even though there has not been any major case of theft, the concerns are mostly ambiguous. In other words, people don’t know how and when will others find a gap in technology and steal money.

Similarly, most antiquated systems don’t accept contactless payments. It means that most retailers still are not upgrading their payment technology. Therefore customers have no option but to keep their usual cash and card for paying for essential Java web development services. Moreover, contactless payments will only increase the digital divide in society, since many people don’t even pay using cards.

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