Consider the example of (and I’m not picking on them: they’re just the last place I used contactless) Pret a Manger, which has forward-facing contactless readers conveniently located at a comfortable height in front of each POS. The payment experience is this…
- Thirsty Coffee Addict Desperate for a Latte (eg, me), or TCA for short: “Large latte please”.
- Helpful Pret a Manger Serving Assistant, or PMS for short: “£1.99 please”.
- TCA taps contactless card against reader. Nothing happens.
- TCA: “Can I pay with the new fast contactless technology please?”
- PMS: “Yes of course”.
- PMS goes back to POS and presses a button or two.
- A few seconds later, the terminal display comes to life and the screen displays “£1.99”.
- TCA taps contactless card against reader and it beeps and flashes green lights.
- Payment is instant, but it takes another 30 seconds to print out a paper receipt that I don’t want.
Here’s how it should work.
- TCA: “Large coffee please”.
- PMS: “£1.99 please”.
- TCA taps contactless card on terminal and it beeps and flashes green lights.
- Receipt is e-mailed to me.
What is the problem? It’s ergonomics. The POS terminals should default to contactless payment and light up the contactless reader automatically. If you give the assistant cash, then they have to touch the POS terminal anyway, at which point it can switch off the contactless reader. Now, the current clumsy implementation isn’t a barrier to me (or other people) using contactless…
Since September 2007, Barclays and Barclaycard have issued over eight million contactless-enabled cards, allowing customers to make transactions quicker and more easily. As a result of the ease of payment, 61% of users find it preferable to using cash.[From Why contactless payment paves the way for a cashless society – Marketing News | UTalkMarketing]
…but I’m sure we can get that number up even higher with a simple redesign of the payment process.
These opinions are my own (I think) and presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]