RFID Finds New Life in Retail December 21th, 2021

RFID Finds New Life in Retail

RFID has the power to shift payments to the background of a variety of experiences while also helping with security and inventory.

RFID has been around now for some time, but its use has mostly been relegated to warehouses and stock rooms for inventory applications. Today, RFID-based solutions have gained popularity in the front of the store via customer-facing applications such as payments, self-checkout, self-return and more.

RFID is Proven in Payments

RFID has already revolutionized payments. Near-field communication (NFC), the tech that enables contactless payments, is a form of RFID. It allows consumers to tap or wave a contactless card or mobile wallet near a card reader to pay quickly and easily. Additionally, payment is processed on the same infrastructure as EMV payments. The chip that communicates payment data with the card reader also generates a one-time-use code that authenticates the purchase, minimizing fraud.

Also, it’s unlikely that anyone with an NFC-enabled reader could steal payment data from a consumer. The card or mobile wallet must be within a few centimeters for successful data transmission. Furthermore, even if someone stood up against a consumer with a contactless card or a smartphone with the mobile wallet app open, they’d only be able to acquire some of the information required to make a purchase. Therefore, fraud, again, is unlikely. Honeywell-RFID-Q3C2-eBook_Mockup-(EN).png

The ease, convenience, speed, and security of contactless payments have driven substantial adoption of this payment type throughout Europe. For example, Statista reports that the share of contactless payment transactions at points of sale is about 90 percent in Czechia and Georgia and exceeds 80 percent in Poland and Hungary. Additionally, approximately half of all transactions are contactless in Spain, Italy, Austria, Bulgaria, and the Netherlands and UK.

RFID and Virtual Payments

Consumers’ adoption of contactless payments throughout Europe inspires a closer look at how RFID can advance progress toward virtual payments. It’s the tech that’s enabling payment wearables, such as MagicBands, that guests wear at some Disney theme parks. Similar solutions can provide students or patients an easy way to pay for extras without carrying a contactless card or smartphone. RFID chips embedded in watches, rings, fobs, or more can make payments automatic rather than a bottleneck as people go about their days.

However, innovators see much more potential for RFID in payments. For example, RFID-enabled in-vehicle payments are familiar to some consumers traveling on toll roads – they simply drive past a reader to pay their tolls. In the future, drivers may be able to complete transactions for other purchases, such as fuel, parking, food at a drive-through restaurant or admission to an event, in effect using a car instead of a smartphone to hold a mobile wallet app.

RFID Combines Security, Inventory, Checkout in One

Some innovative RFID solutions are improving nearly every aspect of the POS checkout experience. For example, an RFID reader can be integrated with a checkout lane to allow staff to remove RFID security tags while automatically scanning the item for sale without the need for a barcode reader.

The same technology implemented differently can be used in price-checking applications and for returns or self-checkout, enabling shoppers to enter a store, make their selections, and leave. In some cases, RFID communicates with card readers as customers leave the store, tallying the items they purchased, and the store’s system sends a receipt to the customer’s smartphone. RFID data can also automatically update inventory and alert management when it’s time to restock or reorder.

Your expertise can make virtual payments possible

One of the most exciting aspects of payments enabled with RFID is that the whole story hasn’t been written yet. Your expertise as a solution provider may be the key to innovation and finding new ways to leverage this technology to deliver the frictionless, virtual payment experiences that consumers and merchants seek.