IDEX Biometrics is predicting that the demand for contactless payment solutions will continue to grow in a post-COVID environment. In a new post on the company blog, IDEX Sales and Marketing Head Art Stewart noted that contactless payments were already on the rise before the pandemic, and that the trend has only accelerated now that people are more aware of the dangers of shared touchpoints.
In that regard, Stewart cited the LendEDU financial marketplace, which researched the presence of germs on New York ATMs and found that the actual card reader was the least sanitary part of the machine, ahead of both keypads and touchscreens. The CDC, meanwhile, has stated that COVID-19 can survive for 48 hours on bank notes, and for a full three days on plastic and steel surfaces.
Thankfully, contactless payment options eliminate the need to make physical contact with a payment terminal. That explains why the technology was becoming much more popular over the past year. Contactless card and mobile wallet payments went up 9.1 percent in 2019, and then jumped an astonishing 40 percent in the first quarter of 2020 in response to the pandemic. According to Mastercard, more than half (51 percent) of all Americans are now taking advantage of some kind of contactless payment option, while a full third have deliberately sought to obtain a card with contactless capabilities.
That trend was even more pronounced with the younger generation. That’s why IDEX believes that biometric payment cards will become more ubiquitous moving forward. While Stewart acknowledged that mobile wallets and payment apps are a viable contactless payment option, they do require access to a smartphone, which raises issues about digital inclusion. Fingerprint-scanning cards, on the other hand, are much less expensive, and can be easily distributed at scale.
Of course, this is not the first time IDEX has detailed the health and safety benefits of contactless biometrics. The company is advising consumers not to abandon the technology now that biometric cards are starting to reach the commercialization phase.