More than 2 million ‘contactless’ cards are already in circulation in Costa Rica

Q COSTA RICA – Like it or not, ‘contactless’ pay is quickly making its way in Costa Rica, with more than 2 million cards with this technology already circulating in the country.

As of last month (February 2017), the Banco Nacional (BN), BAC Credomatic and the Banco de Costa Rica (BCR) report having issued 2,238,169 cards with contactless pay technology.

The Banco Central de Costa Rica (BCCR) – Central Bank – has established a deadline of December 31, 2018 for all bank cards to have this technology.

What is contactless pay?

Contactless payment systems are credit cards and debit cards, smart cards or other devices, including smartphones and other mobile devices, that use radio-frequency identification (RFID) for making secure payments. The embedded chip and antenna enable consumers to wave their card or handheld device over a reader at the point of sale (POS) terminal.

Contactless payments are made in close physical proximity.

Some suppliers claim that transactions can be almost twice as fast as a conventional cash, credit, or debit card purchase, ideal for businesses that frequently use cash and where payment speed is key, such as convenience stores and pulperias, what small ‘corner stores’ are called in Costa Rica.

Contactless in Latin America. Jorge Lara, Director of Digital Payments for MasterCard Mexico and Central America, explained that in Latin America there are 350 million cards of which 93% have chip technology and 13% already have contactless, while 83% of the terminals accept payments with a chip and 3% with contactless.

Contactless technology was first implemented in 2005 by MasterCard and is active in more than 6 million stores in more than 80 countries worldwide.

Globally, an estimated 1.9 trillion cards will be used for contactless payment in 2018, according to Juniper Research’s “Contactless Payment Cards: Market Prospects.”

Visa jumps the contactless payment shark with its new sunglasses.

Proximity payments can be made from cards that incorporate this technology (incorporates the logo of an antenna), from mobiles, or bracelets. Or even sunglasses, such as the case of Visa, announcing at this year’s SXSW that it’s testing sunglasses capable of making contactless payments.

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