For many foreign tourists visiting the U.S., checking out at the register feels like a trip back in time.
Inserting cards, entering pin codes and signing receipts are a thing of the past in countries that have embraced contactless payments. The world's biggest economy, however, is just starting to catch on to the trend.
An estimated 3% of cards in force in the U.S. are contactless, according to a study published in 2018 by consultancy A.T. Kearney. That compares with roughly 64% in the U.K. and as high as 96% in South Korea.
Contactless technology allows customers to pay by tapping their cards directly onto a store's checkout terminal if it includes the contactless symbol, which resembles a wifi logo turned on its side. The cards are a faster alternative to chip and pin payments, similar to "tap and go" transactions through digital wallets like Apple Pay.