- Mastercard on Monday announced a pilot of its Cloud Tap on Phone service where smartphones can be used as point-of-sale technology, according to a company press release. Mastercard is partnering with NMI and Global Payments, along with independent IT services provider Computer Engineering Group on the effort.
- Tap on Phone allows smartphones or tablets to accept contactless payments, thus "minimizing the need to invest in hardware terminals or extra features," per the release.
- Mastercard will make its pre-certified Cloud POS software development kits openly available in order to encourage solution providers, fintechs, processors and acquirers to co-create new cloud-first products.
Mastercard is moving further into the contactless technology space.
"The demand for faster, more convenient, safe, and now cleaner ways to pay has driven the transition to contactless, and it's a one-way street with touch-free experiences expected to be permanent for consumers and businesses even after the pandemic ends," the company said in the release. Mastercard noted that during the third quarter of 2020 contactless penetration represented 41% of in-person transactions globally, up from 30% a year prior.
The pandemic has accelerated the need for contactless payments as wary consumers place an increased focus on hygiene and social distancing. In a survey from August 2020, the National Retail Federation and Forrester found that 67% of retail respondents accepted some form of no-touch payment. The research also found that 58% accept contactless cards, up from 40% the year prior. Additionally, 94% of retailers anticipated contactless payments would increase.
"While mobile payments and contactless cards have accounted for a minority of payments in the past, the pandemic has clearly driven consumers to change their behavior and retailers to accelerate their adoption of the technology," NRF Vice President for Government Relations, Banking and Financial Services Leon Buck said at the time.
Merchants can also offer curbside pickup, payment on delivery or provide line-skipping checkout in stores with the new technology, according to Mastercard — all services that have become a focus for retailers during the health crisis.
Competitor Visa announced recently that it would expand its Tap to Phone product in 2021. Similarly, the product allows merchants with Android devices to conduct contactless transactions at checkout without additional hardware.