CEO Club Briefing


Excerpt from remarks to Boston College Chief Executives Club  

September 27, 2018


The clock speed has just accelerated incredibly over the last three to five years, and now people are focused on how can I do payments off my telephone or my mobile phone? How can I have a better point-of-sale experience? One of the things that I’m maniacal about is that the moment of truth when I actually go to pay is something the payments industry actually never actually spent much time thinking about. And as a result, particularly here in the United States, we’re way behind the rest of the world in terms of tap-and-pay—contactless cards. 

I was with a Polish bank CEO yesterday. Eight-five percent of the transactions in Poland today are tap-and-pay. So you don’t swipe, you don’t dip your card, you just tap it. The card never leaves your hand, doesn’t have to be turned over to the merchant. Canada to our north is 55 percent tap-and-pay. Australia is 90 percent tap-and-pay. Russia just crossed 40 percent tap-and-pay. We’re 0.1 percent. 

The interesting thing is that the system—the infrastructure in the United States—is largely piped to actually support tap-and-pay today, meaning the terminals are able to absorb it, but the banks have not been issuing the cards that have the capability to send the near-field communication to facilitate tap-and-pay, and they’re now beginning to do it. It’s been the better part of—one of the biggest things I’ve been working on in the last year is talking to the bank CEOs in the United States, getting them to come along. If you have me back in five years, I’ll bet you the United States is upwards of at least 50 percent tap-and-pay by then and maybe even higher depending upon how quickly banks get going.