Contactless payment set to make long queues at shopping malls passe

MANILA Long queues at shopping malls, especially when one has to buy just a single item, might finally be soon a thing of the past. Contactless payment, which takes only about three seconds per transaction, is now in the Philippines.

Global payments technology firm Visa has just brought the technology for its cardholders in the Philippines, starting with customers of SM Department Stores, the country's largest chain of department stores. SM will have more than 5,000 contactless terminals for all its branches and affiliate stores, initially in its branch in Makati City.

"Normally, people experience times when the machine could not read their cards. This takes much time for the cardholders and also to other customers in the line," SM senior vice president for operations Eugene Saw explained to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) after the technology's launch at SM Makati on Thursday afternoon.

Contactless payment allows the customer to just tap the card in a device. The amount of purchase will appear on the device's screen. The customer will have to press "OK" in the device after checking the amount. A receipt will appear after clicking "OK".

The entire transaction takes about three seconds, benefitting both the cardholder and those behind the queue, as transaction time is slashed to a minimum.

In contactless payments, customers won't need to swipe their cards, input their PINs, and place their signatures.

At present, Visa cardholders in the Philippines can use contactless payments for purchases below PHP2,000. Several purchases can be made, as long as it is below PHP2,000.

Stuart Tomlinson, Visa country manager for the Philippines and Guam, explained that Visa has imposed the amount limit for the transaction, so that when the customer loses his or her card, it could not be abused by other people, since PHP2000 is relatively not a huge amount.

"The card works similarly with the other credit cards. If the customer misplaces it, he or she has to call the bank to cancel the credit line," Tomlinson said.

Very soon, all the 68 SM branches nationwide, as well as its affiliate stores, will carry the contactless card payment system.

Tomlinson said Visa is also eyeing linkages with other merchants in the Philippines for the technology.

"We want to cover all merchants. For us, in order for a new technology, like this contactless system, to take off and make a change, partnering with large merchants with large measure footprints are the appropriate way to do it," he said. "Contactless is the future of payments. With SM coming on board to offer this solution in the Philippines, we look forward to seeing more Filipinos embrace it and helping to accelerate the use of electronic payments in the country." (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency