Contactless Cards Have Become Mainstream Worldwide

by joeheg

The use of contactless payments (or NFC Technology) in the United States is way behind the rest of the world. Most people are familiar with this technology using Apple Pay or Google Pay. We’re still at the point where people pull out their phones or use a watch to pay at the checkout and have a look of amazement at the magical ability to pay with a device.

What if I told you that it’s unnecessary to fumble around with your phone or supinate your wrist to tap a watch to a reader to use contactless payments?


Banks have added contactless technology to most cards and stores almost always now have contactless-enabled card readers. So what are you waiting for?Card

The Wave symbol. Your key to contactless payments.

We just spent 2 weeks in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and every location that took credit cards wanted us to tap to pay. Every drug store to restaurant purchase only takes a tap and a few seconds. Compare this to how long it takes to complete a chip transaction or the fumbling to pay with a mobile device and you immediately see the appeal.

All you need now is a card issued by a bank that supports this technology and the list keeps getting longer.


American Express offers contactless cards for many of its products, including metal cards like AMEX Gold and AMEX Platinum.


Chase was one of the significant holdouts that didn’t offer contactless for their card portfolio, until December 2018 when they did. At this point, most Chase cards can make contactless payments.

I used my Sapphire Reserve on our recent trip with no problems.


Citi has rolled out contactless payments on most of their cards. If your card doesn’t have the contactless symbol, you can go to this website and log into your Citi account to see if it’s available.


Wells Fargo started issuing contactless cards in March 2019. All newly issued credit cards have the technology, as do their debit cards in at least 10 states. Current cardholders will be given contactless cards their current card expires, but if you want one now you can call the number on the back of your card and ask for one.


Per Capital One’s website, they issue contactless cards but there’s no list of which cards are available with the technology. I’d say to look at your card to see if it’s already there or call the number on the back of your card and hope the customer rep knows what you’re talking about.


Discover issues contactless cards for most of its portfolio. If you don’t see the contactless symbol on your card, you can request a contactless Discover Card on this website. Contactless cards are not available for all card types.


Bank of America has started to issue contactless cards to customers. If you have a BofA card that isn’t contactless, call the number on your card to ask for a contactless card.


Barclays was a holdout offering contactless cards to US customers, which was odd because they are one of the only banks to issue cards with Chip + Pin functionality. I’m happy to report that our new JetBlue Plus and Wyndham Earner Business cards include contactless payment technology.

Final Thoughts

Now that most mass transit systems are contactless, an easy way to get your card to the top of the wallet is if the customer uses that card for their rides, and to do that you need to be contactless.

Previously, I never saw contactless payments as more than a novelty. Contactless payments are the norm for most of the world except the US. With newfound respect for the ability to pay without touching anything, I’m glad that my wallet is full of contactless cards. I’m a convert (Note from Sharon: Me too!).

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1 comment

Christian March 16, 2020 - 7:46 pm

Any idea how easy it is for someone to steal your card information through your wallet? That seems the dark side of the new technology.


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