“Contactless” refers to technology embedded in a personal device — typically a mobile phone, key fob, credit card, or access card — that transmits your data to another device from a distance of a few inches in order to complete a transaction.
Transactions involving data transfer have traditionally involved plastic cards with a magnetic stripe or some type of a bar code. And while these technologies remain commonly used, the migration to contactless is well underway, for a number of reasons:
- Contactless tends to be a more secure data transfer method. Classic credit cards often contain sensitive yet unencrypted data, stored in plain text in magnetic stripes that can be compromised by various skimming devices.
- Contactless technology can handle more data. Devices equipped for contactless transactions contain a small chip, which stores user data and has a vastly greater capacity than a traditional magnetic stripe.
- Contactless technology is far more versatile than the payment technology it replaces. Relying on a plastic card and magnetic stripe limit your transaction options, whereas contactless technology can be used to store data in a variety of different devices, from a plastic card to a mobile phone to just about any type of product.
- Contactless transactions are more convenient. We’re all accustomed to producing one card or another to make a purchase or access a restricted building or other area. But carrying all those cards around requires a wallet. And frankly, wallets are cumbersome and bulky. I long for the day when my mobile phone is the only device I need, containing everything I need to get anywhere and buy anything.
When your bank, employer, or local public transportation system rolls out contactless technology, embrace it. Before long, it will without a doubt be the preferred method for the majority of our daily transactions.