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Consumers Embracing QR Codes and Contactless Payments

As the global pandemic has taken a toll on almost every business, consumers’ demand for all things touchless is surging.

Even in the midst of a pandemic that emphasizes social distancing and limited contact, people still buy groceries, order takeout, and make household purchases. But consumers want to limit their exposure when they transact.

New research reveals that around 60% of consumers claim to have increased their use of contactless payments during the pandemic.

“Health experts say there is no clear evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted by cash or credit cards but retailers are putting health and safety first and have rolled out a variety of no-touch payment options in order to err on the side of caution,” said Leon Buck, NRF Vice President for Government Relations, Banking, and Financial Services.

“While mobile payments and contactless cards have accounted for a minority of payments in the past, the pandemic has clearly driven consumers to change their behavior and retailers to accelerate their adoption of the technology,” he added.

According to Buck, touchless fewer payment methods are important to keeping retail associates and consumers healthy, but they also raise concerns about security and retailer transaction fees.

“Retailers, banks and card companies need to work together to ensure that these transactions remain secure,” he said. “And the card industry should not take advantage of this situation to rake in extra fees merchants would not pay otherwise. Card processing fees already drive up costs for retailers by far too much and ultimately increase prices paid by consumers.”

Consumer awareness and use of tap-and-pay cards had already been trending upward before the pandemic. But when COVID-19 hit, use of contactless payments grew quickly, said Ellen Linardi, a Fiserv Vice President who works with merchants through the Clover Network.