[Opinions] The glaring problem of our contactless payment tech dystopia

Contactless payment dystopia
Contactless payment dystopia

I like contactless payment tech. It makes life easier. I don’t have to circle and sign anything. True, I might still get receipts, but I’d rather have receipts than not have them. For small purchases, it’s amazingly convenient.

And I remember a time when contactless payment tech worked beautifully. When our EZ-Link cards debuted. You just had to tap your wallet at the gantry to go in and out.

Now you can’t, because EVERY BANK DUMPS CONTACTLESS PAYMENT TECH IN THEIR CREDIT CARDS so it no longer works as intended. All the contactless payment tech conflicts with each other.

Credit card reality.
Credit card reality.

Banks, don’t be stupid – people have more than one credit card

I remember when banks started forcing EZ-Link tech into your credit cards. It was a dark day, because you could no longer tap your wallet against the gantry. Your credit card would conflict with your EZ-Link card.

I get it that this was a move to make credit cards a “one stop shop” (I hate this phrase, by the way) for all payment needs. But it felt like it was shoved down my throat. Why didn’t I get an opt-in option? Why did it just appear without my consent?

Granted, credit cards nowadays do not have EZ-Link functions automatically enabled (but you only need two credit card jokers to face this problem). They give you Paywave (or similar services) automatically.

The problem is that people have more than one credit card, because banks want to put different benefits on different cards. This means that people use different cards for different types of purchases. And, different banks offer different discounts/offers at different places. (Also you have wonderful sites like The MileLion to show you how to navigate through the credit card hoopla that banks pull). Credit cards should not be this irritating, but they are.

So of course people have more than one credit card. I’m not in finance, and even I realised that before I got the credit card.

Then why do banks behave like people are going to have only one credit card? Why don’t they bother asking before dumping contactless payment tech into every single credit card?

It negates 90% of the usefulness of contactless payment (literally touching my wallet to a device), because I have to take out one single card to tap it. I can’t even tap my wallet because all the contactless payment methods conflict with each other (or the wrong card will get charged).

What a colossal waste of money implementing this tech that worsens lives. I’d rather the banks spent the money on living, breathing, human customer service officers (instead of useless time-wasting automated hotline services), than spending money shoving contactless payment tech into every credit card.

But of course, the abysmal time sinks that are bank automated hotline services are a topic for another time. Considering that our country is supposed to be moving towards service industries, banks are certainly going in the complete opposite direction.

Why aren't CEOs smarter?
Why aren’t CEOs smarter?

Why doesn’t any bank CEO point this out?

I went to Google this, and I’ve found no article pointing out this abject stupidity of every credit card having contactless payment.

Why doesn’t anyone point this out? Why does competition between banks make our lives more difficult? Why don’t banks focus on, you know, making good credit cards?

I know someone who would kill me if my wallet was this cluttered.
I know someone who would kill me if my wallet was this cluttered.

I want my wallet-tapping days back

Somehow I feel the future e-payment system is going to end up in a similar mess. Multiple conflicting e-payment systems. We’re back to square one.

I wish we could go back to the days when I literally had to only tap my wallet. Now I have to take every single card out and really, that’s not that many steps removed from taking out my card and signing for purchases.

We’re living in a contactless payment dystopia.

Contactless payment dystopia
Contactless payment dystopia

Or am I missing the point? Is there a huge issue I’m not seeing?

Someone please tell me.

I literally want to tap and go, like how our future was promised.

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I’m a Singapore television scriptwriter who’s written for Lion Mums, Crimewatch, Police & Thief, and Incredible Tales. I’m also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. You can find me on social media as Optimarcus and on my site.

Send me an email if you want to get in touch!


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