Should you swipe or tap? Why new payment methods may be safer than cash or card

Published on Oct 12, 2022

Should you swipe or tap? Why new payment methods may be safer than cash or card

Goodbye, cash; hello, mobile wallet. If you haven’t yet swiped or tapped to complete a purchase, chances are you will soon as the use of cash falls and alternative payment methods rise.1 In fact, one study finds total spend from mobile wallets2 will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 25% from 2022 to 2028. Here’s what you need to know about this convenient payment method.

What are “contactless” payments?

Contactless payments are exactly what you think they are: a way to pay for things without physically handing over a credit or debit card or cash to a sales associate.

There are several ways to complete a contactless payment. The first is by using a chip-enabled credit card or debit card that allows you to “tap” your card without swiping or inserting it into the point-of-sale (POS) terminal. Look for the sideways “wave” mark on your card to determine if it has contactless payment capabilities. (If you need a new card that enables this method, contact Valley today.) Typically you won’t need to sign for your purchase as long as it’s below a certain threshold.

An even more convenient contactless payment method is using your mobile device, such as your smartphone, or wearable, like a smartwatch, to pay for a purchase through an app like Apple Pay or Google Pay that you have downloaded to your mobile wallet. That, in turn, is connected to your credit or debit card. To complete the payment, simply hover your device over the terminal.

Some merchants may also display a QR code you can scan to pay. Just open the camera setting on your smartphone and point it at the QR code, and you’ll receive a notification to confirm the payment with the side button on your phone.

How does the machine know you’re the one making the payment? It’s through the magic of “near field communication” (NFC), which allows two devices in close proximity to communicate wirelessly.

Are contactless payments safe?

Not only is this a streamlined way to complete a purchase, but it’s also one of the most secure ways to pay for items. That’s because of how contactless technology works. Unlike the traditional card “swipe” method, each contactless transaction uses a one-time code that protects your payment information, such as your name, credit card number and security code, so a fraudster can’t access it.

Because your card or device needs to be within one or two inches of the payment system, you don’t need to worry about inadvertently paying for something by walking past the terminal.

And even if you lose your device, a thief wouldn’t be able to bypass your lock screen and access your mobile wallet. Just be sure to protect your device with a complex passcode, or even better, fingerprint or face identification which is virtually impossible for someone else to replicate.

Why might you want to use an alternative payment method? 

There are several reasons digital payment methods are gaining in popularity. At the top of the list is convenience. There is no need to fumble in your bag or wallet for your card since your smartphone is probably already out. You may not even carry a bag at all if you choose to travel light. And if you’re using a smartwatch, it doesn’t get easier than tipping your wrist toward the scanner.

Contactless payment might even allow you to avoid a wait. Many merchants equip their associates with a mobile POS system to complete transactions anywhere, such as at your table or outside the dressing room, eliminating the traditional payment line at the front.

Often mobile wallets are combined with a loyalty account, making it a cinch to gain or use reward points. And rather than tracking points yourself, most systems will prompt you when you have something to redeem, providing even more value.

The touchless aspect is important from a health perspective, as well. Ever since the pandemic, we’re more apt to cast a wary eye at the grimy keypad and stylus that multiple people have touched.

Finally, as emphasized above, these touchless transactions provide even better security than other payment forms.

Touchless payments will soon be second nature as the world becomes more digitally focused. Are you ready to reap the benefits and security of more seamless transactions? Download your Valley Mobile Wallet so you’re prepared to try one the next time you’re out and about.


1. Fed360, The Federal Reserve News. June 15, 2022.

2. GlobeNewsWire. May 5, 2022.

, , ,