Contactless v/s Touchless

What might the retail sector – specifically the unattended retail sector look like when business returns to something resembling normal?

As we all know, social distancing is likely to be our new norm for the foreseeable future with physical contact being discouraged in both attended and unattended retail. Cash which was once king is now being discouraged, furthermore the limit for contactless payments have been increased by the card schemes to further discourage contact with payment terminals, which begs the question, contactless or touchless payments? For now, let’s focus on the unattended retail sector and explore the pros and cons of Contactless v/s Touchless.

Unmanned retail has expanded from vending machines, kiosks and now the not-so-new kids on the block, micro-markets. Virtually everyone these days has a bank card of some sort in their possession and card issuers are increasingly offering contactless cards to their customers.

Contactless payments –


  • Consumers are familiar with the “tap to pay” process

  • Most card types accepted

  • Up to £45.00 and £50.00 acceptance for debit and Mastercard respectively


  • Tap limit before PIN is required may be exceeded

  • Single vend payment, unless the vendor offers multiple vend functionality

  • Sim card required and associated fees

Touchless dispensation –


  • Multiple product selection with one transaction fee

  • Telemetry data available without the need for a Sim card

  • Direct to consumer marketing facility

  • Little or no physical contact with the vendor

  • Full purchase history record with repeat purchase facility


  • Open loop consumer app installation required, therefore not suitable for public locations with transient consumers.

Covid-19 may prove to be the gamechanger, but digital and specifically mobile payments will increasingly become part of our day-to-day, whether it’s for banking, bill payments or just for everyday purchases. Having increased data on consumer spending habits would lead to targeted marketing, promotions and product offerings in unattended retail equipment.

Whilst China may not be flavour of the month at the moment with an increasing number of countries asking questions on the lack of transparency regarding the impact of the Coronavirus and the ensuing pandemic, China is a good indicator of the potential growth of mobile payments, and not only in China, but surprisingly in India and other countries which we sometimes refer to as third world countries.

Contactless Vs Touchless? How about both?

Vendekin Technologies digitises the end to end experience of unmanned retail points with a mobile-first approach to select products and make cashless payments. For those who prefer contactless cards over digital payment options, Vendekin works in tandem with card readers to complement contactless payments with a touch-less shopping cart experience to buy products from vending machines and unmanned micro-stores.

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