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Photographer: Brad Ogbonna for Bloomberg Businessweek
Bloomberg 50

Linda Kirkpatrick, Tap-to-Pay’s Top Supporter

Consumers are now using tap-to-pay 40% of the time in-store, up from only 30% a year ago, according to Mastercard, an increase of billions of transactions.

It’s not easy to change the daily habits of consumers. But it happened recently with credit cards—twice. After years of swiping, American shoppers got used to dipping their cards at checkout. And then this spring, with the pandemic raging and the thought of touching anything suddenly scary, they changed again and started tapping.

Much of the credit goes to Kirkpatrick, who’s spent years laying the groundwork for tap-to-pay use in the U.S. The card network says the technology is clearly better for all parties concerned. For consumers, tapping is about 10 times faster than dipping. For Mastercard—as well as its rivals, plus bank issuers and merchants—faster and more convenient means more revenue. And research has shown consumers are increasingly using tap-to-pay even for smaller transactions, where cash remains king.