Touch-Free Credit Cards: The New Normal in a Post-Coronavirus World?

“Contact-less delivery and/or curbside pickup.”

You see such messages listed across store fronts, blasted in advertisements, and featured on various websites as companies of all shapes and sizes work to stay afloat during these trying times. And while American consumers are able to do a good portion of their shopping online or pass along credit card information over the phone when making purchases for pickup, the fact of the matter is that there are some things that must be purchased within a store. Throw in the fact that many consumers also may be hesitant to give out their credit card information over the phone, and there’s a bit of a currency conundrum on our hands.

One solution is the touch-less credit card, and there’s a good chance that you may already have one that offers such capability. If you don’t already have one, there’s an even better chance that you will soon as we all make adjustments to the new near-term normal of living in a world with COVID-19.

Here’s a look at what you need to know about toouch-less, or contact-less, credit cards:

You May Already Have One

Head to your wallet and pull out your credit card. Does it have something that looks like the Wi-Fi symbol on it? Or the signal strength symbol on your cell phone? If it does, then your card works via contact-less checkout. If your card isn’t contact-less, give your card issuer a call and see if they can send you a new one that is. If they can’t and you’re dead set on going contact-less, issuers like Chase, Citi, and American Express offer such options.

It’s Easy to Use

Retailers such as Costco and Target already have the infrastructure in place for contact-less credit card payments, and there’s reason to believe that many more retailers will be following suit in the near future. Paying with such a card is easy – all you’ll need to do is look for the same Wi-Fi symbol on the retailer’s card reading terminal upon checking out. Then, you tap your card to the symbol on the terminal. If all goes well, you’ll get a confirmation within a few seconds. There’s no pushing buttons or signing involved.

They’re Just as Safe as Chip Reader Cards

When it comes to credit cards – especially new features associated with them – many consumers often wonder if the technology is safe. The good news with contact-less cards is that they are just as safe as using a conventional credit card via the chip reader. Each time you use a contact-less card, a security code specific to that purchase is generated. This code is designed to protect your information. Another nice thing about contact-less cards is that it’s nearly impossible for you to make an accidental payment. In order for the credit card to register, it needs to be about an inch from the credit card terminal.

Is this going to become a permanent fixture of our financial lives? At the time of writing, businesses across the United States are reopening, and COVID-19 cases are dropping. However, there is a lot of talk about a possible second wave of the virus — one that may be even deadlier — once the summer heat wears off. If that happens, it’s likely that contact-less shopping could indeed become the “new normal.”

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