Boston Fed reports on contactless card and NFC payments adoption issues

Chart showing US contactless adoption
EVOLUTION: Adoption of contactless in the US is only now taking off despite pilots as far back as 2003

The rollout of contactless cards in the US should have an overall positive influence on NFC mobile payments adoption in the US, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston — but both consumers and merchants have ongoing adoption issues that remain to be resolved.

Achieving contactless payment adoption will require all stakeholders in the value chain to work together, the report claims.

The authors say that confusion reigns among merchants, with some concerned about losing control of the payment experience when they activate contactless payments in their stores since contactless technology extends acceptance to all NFC mobile wallets by default.

Consumers meanwhile are confused due to poor marketing and messaging around contactless and NFC mobile wallets.

Technical inconsistencies – such as the fact that the area users tap for an NFC transaction varies depending on the POS terminal – are also hampering take-up.

“Coordinating efforts to generate demand through consumer awareness, education, and messaging is critical to explain the nuances between contactless cards, NFC mobile wallets, and other emerging payment options (for example, QR code-based mobile payments) and to address inconsistencies,” says the report.

It claims that once consumers experience the benefits of contactless the move to mobile payments will be more acceptable.

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