KSL INVESTIGATES

Touchless Tech: How The Pandemic Is Changing The Way We Shop

Dec 3, 2020, 10:29 PM | Updated: Dec 4, 2020, 5:29 am

SANDY, Utah – COVID-19 has changed the way Americans buy stuff as we look for ways to shop without interacting with other people. Many companies are developing contactless payment methods to meet that growing demand, including a major convenience store chain that chose Utah as a proving ground for its new technology.

7-Eleven’s Mobile Checkout

7-Eleven’s “mobile checkout” program works with an app you download on your smartphone. You scan what you want to buy right in the aisles and then pay with your phone without having to approach a cashier. Just shop, pay, then hold your phone up to a cube called a “confirmation station” as you exit, which lets the cashiers know you’ve paid using the app.

A “confirmation cube” at a Utah 7-Eleven. (KSL-TV)

KSL took it for a spin and found it works as advertised and is certainly contactless.

“The intent of this is not to remove human interaction in our stores,” said Jolly John, 7-Eleven’s senior director of digital strategy. “It’s to allow customers to have better control over their experience so they can shop the way they want to shop.”

John said during the pandemic, customers have been clamoring for a way to get their morning cup of coffee without having to interact with cashiers, touch credit card terminals or wait in line with other customers.

KSL’s Matt Gephardt scans an item using 7-Eleven’s mobile checkout. (KSL-TV)

“It was already in the works prior to the pandemic – timing has worked out,” she explained. “The need has increased, because the customers are wanting to be contactless, to be touchless.”

Touchless Technology

7-Eleven is far from the only business looking for ways to adapt. Study after study has found tap-and-go technology is in high demand.

But one surprising study found millions of Americans have touchless technology in their wallets right now and don’t even know it.

According to a survey from CompareCards.com, nearly half of Americans did not recognize the standard symbol for “touchless payment” or “contactless payment.”

Tap-and-go technology is in high demand across the country. (KSL-TV)

“I suspect that an awful lot of people have seen that symbol which is basically just the Wi-Fi symbol kind of turned on its side, but they just don’t necessarily know what it means,” said Matt Schultz of CompareCards.com.

If that symbol is on your credit or debit card, it means you can use your card by simply holding it just above the card terminal. If the machine also has the symbol, it will process your transaction.

“The truth is that contactless is kind of perfectly built for a time like we’re in now, because you don’t have to hand that card to anybody. You don’t even necessarily have to touch the terminal,” said Schulz.

Less surprising to Schulz was that people seem to love it once they learn about it.

Once people start using it, CompareCards found 39% said it has become their preferred way to buy stuff in a brick-and-mortar store.

Often, it is faster than swiping or inserting a card and then keying in a PIN, and it is touchless and clean.

In a new survey, 39% of respondents said contactless payment has become their preferred way to buy in a brick-and-mortar store.

“That would be pretty appealing to a lot of people right now,” said Schulz.

Mobile Wallet

Keep in mind, if your current plastic does not have touchless tap-and-go capability, you can still use the technology through a mobile wallet. Most terminals that accept touchless cards will also take touchless mobile payments when you hold your phone above the credit card terminal.

Another benefit of contactless payment touted by experts is security.

Your tap-and-go card or smartphone masks your real payment information through encryption. So, even if a bad guy somehow intercepts your transaction, that encryption will make it useless to a thief.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

KSL Investigates

Matt Gwyther (left) and Dennis Rowley Gwyther (right). (Photo Provided By: Matt Gwyther)...
Daniella Rivera

How mental health staffing shortages are delaying justice in Utah’s courts

A Utah man waiting for justice after the 2019 murder of his husband says staffing issues at the Utah State Hospital have contributed to months of delays in court.
3 days ago
...
Mike Headrick and Cindy St. Clair, KSL TV

Newly built homes deemed unlivable due to sliding soil

If you want to know what a sinking home sounds like, just ask Eric and Carole Kamradt.
4 days ago
Brenda White cookies...
Matt Gephardt

Gephardt Busts Inflation: Rent prices down nationwide but very high in Utah

All over the country, the cost of rent is finally starting to go down. But that is not the case here in Utah.
6 days ago
...
Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt: Cybersecurity experts caution shoppers to take it slow while shopping online

For many of us, Christmastime is magical. For scammers, it’s especially magical. Here's what to beware of when shopping online.
12 days ago
Gephardt makes butter...
Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Gephardt Busts Inflation: Can you save money by making your own butter?

Prices for groceries are up, but the price we pay for butter is way, way up – to the point it will impact your holiday baking budget.
13 days ago
(KSL TV)...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Packed holiday flights: How SLC Int’l stacks up against US’s largest airports in delays and cancelations

Travelers, brace yourselves: holiday flights will be packed.
13 days ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Touchless Tech: How The Pandemic Is Changing The Way We Shop