COVID-19 may be the disruptor in the payments space nudging financial institutions to offer or expand contactless payment options sooner than expected.  With contactless payment methods such as mobile phones and contactless debit and credit cards on the rise, financial institutions would benefit from implementing or supplementing a contactless payment program.

One 2020 survey indicated that 50 percent of U.S. consumers used a contactless payment method at least four times in May of this year.  In further support of contactless, sixty-nine percent of U.S. consumers feel that contactless payments are more convenient than cash. Virus concerns stemming from touching cash or point-of-sale terminals has consumers favoring cashless and tap-and-go for purchases.

A Mastercard® survey of 17,000 consumers shows an increase in consumer contactless preference or acceptance that may become the “new normal”, and if that is the case, financial institutions could benefit from embracing contactless.  The survey indicated that 79 percent of respondents worldwide now use contactless payment methods, with 46 percent moving contactless cards to top of wallet.  A not surprising 82 percent of respondents think of contactless as a ‘cleaner’ way to pay, and 74 percent plan to use contactless payment methods after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Make the most of a contactless program with innovative payment card materials and instant issuance technology.

Financial institutions implementing or expanding their contactless payment options can now choose eco-focused payment card materials and meet the needs of a growing market.  Issuers can address consumer environmental concerns with materials designed to reduce first-use plastic.  New material options include cards featuring a core made with recovered ocean-bound plastic and high-content upcycled cards made with up to 98% post-industrial plastic, dependent on design  Both products accommodate dual interface chip and antenna, which provides the same security as EMV, with the tap and go convenience of contactless.

For issuers wanting to provide a luxury experience and a status play for the less cost-sensitive consumer, metal cards feature contactless capability.  Encased metal cards from CPI can incorporate contactless capability without sacrificing any terminal read-range at point of sale. Options include tungsten (the heaviest card available) and steel (an economical choice for mass issuance strategies).  Metal is encased with PVC to allow for full design capabilities, which can be combined with custom finishes and treatments to create a truly unique card experience.

Design, along with exciting materials and treatments, can elevate the brand and the cardholder experience. A spot gloss treatment combined with visual shine brings the card to life.  Vibrant colors and the use of metallic foils increases card visibility. Pearlescent, color shifting or metallic silkscreen treatments enhances the cardholder experience, ensuring that the card stands out from the rest.

For financial institutions who can instantly issue cards, implementing a new Dual Interface card program is a seamless way to provide contactless payment options for your cardholders.  Blank PVC with dual-interface EMV chip and antenna can be printed in full-color, now with over-the-edge capability or issuers can personalize pre-printed contactless capable cards.  Banks and credit unions can offer cardholders immediate access to a ready-to-use contactless-enabled card in the branch or through the drive-thru.

Embracing contactless payment options allows card issuers to meet the consumer at a crucial point in the buyer’s journey – as they are reaching in their wallet to make a transaction.  An exceptional card design reflecting your brand’s personality, combined with the convenience and speed of contactless payments can make for an exceptional cardholder experience and support top-of-wallet status.

For more information about dual-interface EMV and contactless card products, click here.



Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

Jack Jania

Written by: Jack Jania, VP of Product Management and Innovation for Secure Cards at CPI Card Group.