Making contactless payments mainstream in the US

A recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston suggests that the conditions for the mainstream adoption of contactless payments are now aligned. The installation of contactless-enabled POS terminals at merchants in recent years, coupled with more and more banks in the country rolling out contactless cards, could be an indication that mass adoption is just around the corner.

Just this month, two major US banks - Wells Fargo and KeyBank – announced that they have started to issue contactless cards to customers to offer a simplified checkout experience, and last year JPMorgan Chase committed to issuing contactless cards for all new and replacement cards beginning this summer. Yet contactless payments are still relatively rare. Only 20% of stores have compatible terminals, and those that do haven’t necessarily activated the feature. At the end of 2018, A.T. Kearney reported that just 0.18% of transactions in the US are made using contactless cards.

However, it was the transport industry that was instrumental in influencing UK contactless adoption, and with New York City subways and buses planning to introduce contactless payments at the turnstile this year, could this be what the US has been waiting for and drive both adoption and acceptance?