Contactless payments offer consumers a way to “tap” to pay for their goods at the point-of-sale, allowing them to potentially avoid contact with surfaces that could be contaminated with COVID-19.

The payments industry has been powering secure contactless payments in the U.S. and across the world for years, but the technology is still new to many consumers. This guide from the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA), the global industry group for the payments technology industry, helps you identify and use secure contactless payments.

What exactly are contactless payments?

Contactless payments refer to digital payments that use technology to securely communicate your payment information to the merchant without any physical contact, unlike handing over cash or credit card. It’s easy, secure and nearly instant.

A consumer can use a variety of different types of devices to make these payments: a smartphone, smartwatch or other wearable technology, or a contactless-enabled credit or debit card. Whether they are using a smart device or a card, they simply “tap” to pay by holding their contactless-enabled device over the payment terminal.

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