contactless credit card
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Just tap it…

Oh the joys of long lines at the supermarket – or maybe it’s Starbucks. Some things in life can’t be avoided, but in most of the world, the days of swiping and signing are long gone, in some cases dating back ten years or more.

Yet in the USA, the center of world banking, the arduous, manual, redundant process still reigns. And let’s be honest – when’s the last time someone really checked your signature, anyway? The joy and efficiency of contactless credit cards is finally coming to the United States, with the roll out of more credit and debit cards offering contactless payment solutions.

Here’s a list of which cards offer this beneficial technology, which speeds up every line you find yourself waiting in…

What’s Contactless?

No need to sign, or swipe – just tap. Just like using Google Pay or Apple Pay on your favorite mobile phone, contactless payment allows shoppers to hold their card near a card reader, and the transaction happens almost instantly.

The big takeaway: it’s really, really fast.

Signing credit card receipts has long been proven to be an inefficient step in preventing fraud, and pulling out a pen in addition to a swipe makes long lines at checkout counters longer. In fact, contactless payments average 15-17 seconds, whereas traditional swipes take 30 seconds or more.

Contactless means there’s no need to sign or swipe for most purchases, allowing fast transactions. American Express has offered contactless by request in recent years, and certain cards, such as Capital One Savor have offered contactless in various forms, but it’s never been a mass market “hit”.

Here’s a list of US credit cards currently offering contactless: 

  • American Express: By request, most Amex cards can be converted to contactless.
  • Capital One: Venture (plastic version), Venture One, Quicksilver, Savor and Savor One.
  • Chase: Sapphire Preferred, Freedom, British Airways, Hyatt cards. If you have one of these and do not have contactless, you can also request a contactless version be sent to you.

chaseChase x Visa Launch

Chase has taken the reigns in an attempt to bring US credit card systems within 10 years of the rest of the world. Yes, contactless payment was launched in 2007 in many parts of the world, and even has origins dating back to 1997 with Mobil Oil. Beginning November 15th, 2018 newly issued Chase Visa credit cards will feature contactless payment solutions.

If you sign up for a new credit card, you can expect the feature, and if you currently have a Chase Visa card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Freedom, British Airways Visa Signature Card or World Of Hyatt Card, you can request a new card to be delivered with this game-changing, time-saving technology. Simply call the phone number on the back of your card.

In The Meantime

If you don’t have one of these cards and absolutely hate swiping and signing, you’re not totally out of luck. Mastercard has pledged to end signatures in the near future and virtually all credit and debit cards can be loaded to Google and or Apple Pay, which effectively gives you access to contactless, even if your actual card isn’t that clever. Let’s hope this is a bandwagon banks jump on because it sure does make travel a lot easier.

Are you excited to see contactless in the USA?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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8 Comments

  1. That’s not entirely accurate. MasterCard actually introduced its PayPass contactless system in the US way back in 2003. I remember using that in a few places way back then. It was neat but didn’t really catch on much. I don’t think it went away but kind of not used much now with other contactless systems in place.

  2. “The joy and efficiency of contactless credit cards is finally coming to the United States, starting with Chase and Visa…”

    My Amex Rose Gold already has that feature. Not sure why you only mentioned Visa and Mastercard in this post?

  3. I used to had Chase freedom contactless back in 2009 or so after that i got a normal one.
    Did not know why. My EU card are all contactless.

  4. I used to work in retail in the UK. We had a fair few tourists. Any time an American or someone from China pulled out a card, you knew you were in for a fun time. We didn’t accept any cards that weren’t chip or pin. Some people weren’t happy that we wouldn’t let them swipe like it was the 1980s (this was circa 2016). The only times I ever had someone British try to use swipe, it was because they were using a cloned card. Hence why we had a zero tolerance policy.

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