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Contactless Payments Are on the Rise

Merchants are increasingly using physical cards for payments, as well as a growing number of smartphones equipped with either special chip readers or encoded images.
By Edson Perin
Feb 26, 2020

I have long believed that payment solutions tend to use fewer and fewer physical cards and more and more smartphones, and this is starting to become more evident now, even to less attentive eyes. It is not that I have a crystal ball or that I am some kind of prophet. The fact is, I have covered technologies for years, especially those related to doing business. Thus, I have seen that credit and debit payment cards have lost the favor of buyers and sellers and are rapidly falling behind. After all, smartphones are faster and more convenient to pay and receive money.

The other day, during a conversation with business executives, I mentioned this transformation in payment methods. One of them, a businessman in the footwear sector, interrupted to agree: "In China, for example, QR codes have been used for payments via cell phone for some years, without a debit or credit card."

And it's true! According to what I have learned, payments via QR codes in China were stimulated due to the great counterfeiting of paper money in that country. This encouraged traders and the government itself to adopt QR codes as a means of payment and as a way to fight organized crime. QR codes are one possible solution with encoded images that, through visible codes, allow buyers to pay for products only by focusing a smartphone's camera on the checkered design printed on a product's packaging, or on a scannable price and code label.

One alternative already available is digital printing, which has the advantage of using invisible codes. Thus, a product's packaging, without any apparent special code, can communicate with a smartphone camera in a natural way, as though it were the eyes of a person, capable of recognizing products just by looking at their packaging. What happens, in this case, is that the codes are embedded in the decorative image of the packaging, thereby creating personalized and individual identification without changing its layout in any way.

This solution allows you to gain information about a product that helps with logistics. More than that, though, it can favor differentiated experiences for a consumer, such as showing videos, user manuals, and information about product validity, recipe preparation, authenticity, manufacturing and warranties. It can also guide buyers regarding the correct disposal of packaging and the product itself.

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