Contactless payments are having their moment

They're easier, more secure, and quicker. And using your watch to pay just feels high tech.

The pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives, from how we dine, work, and exercise, to how we spend time with family and friends. Technology has been helpful in our transition from socializing in person to staying at home. We’re able to attend meetings via Zoom, order food from apps, and buy a new book from our favorite author and have it delivered same day. But when we do venture out of our homes, whether to pick up takeout or purchase a puzzle to stave off boredom, we are increasing able to process these payments using contactless methods.

Earlier today, I made a quick Target run, and on my way out, I stopped by the self-checkout station. After I scanned my items, I double-tapped the side button on my Apple Watch to bring up ApplePay. By holding my wrist up to the card reader I was able to complete my purchase without having to touch any buttons.

Contactless payment method use is increasing after experiencing slow growth. According to Statista, Apple Pay user growth increased by 65 million in 2020 to top 507 million total. In addition to Apple Pay, which is available on the iPhone and Apple Watch devices, other companies have begun creating wearables for contactless payments.

This includes Purewrist, a company making payment bracelets that users can use to make purchases of up to $1,000. And at CES, startup Flywallet announced a wearable called Keyble that can be integrated into fashion accessories such as watch straps and bracelets.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention that many credit card companies have also begun creating NFC-enabled cards, that with a single tap, can process a transaction without buyers having to insert the card.

I’m a big fan of using my Apple Watch to make purchases. Doing so is not only easier, it’s more secure and quicker. And it just feels high tech. I use it nearly every time I make a purchase. And while many merchants, such as the Home Depot and Walmart, still don’t accept contactless payments from wearables, an increasing number of stores do.

The pandemic has forced us to consider how we interact with our environment as we look to reduce the number of objects we touch for fear of spreading germs. This is where contactless payments shine.

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