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October 5, 2022

Visa’s Tap-to-Phone Transforms Android Phones and Tablets into Acceptance Terminals

Now available in more than 15 Markets, including Romania; Tap to Phone enables businesses to accept contactless payments on any NFC-enabled Android device with no need for additional hardware

As the world increasingly turns to digital payments amidst COVID-19, Visa announces the introduction of Tap to Phone technology in Romania – a simple mobile app that can help millions of sellers worldwide quickly and securely accept contactless payments, while improving the checkout experience for customers.

Visa’s Tap to Phone technology transforms current generation Android smartphones or tablets into contactless, or tap to pay, software-based point of sale terminals without the need for additional hardware. In Romania, Visa’s digital solution for accepting contactless payments with a mobile Android phone is currently launched in partnership with Alpha Bank and CEC Bank, being available for local merchants who want an advantageous service in terms of costs and flexibility.

“With the introduction of Visa’s Tap to Phone solution in Romania, we are entering a new era of digital payments: no special equipment or technical knowledge are required to install and use the application on your Android mobile phone, which automatically turns into a payment terminal. We aim to support small and medium-sized businesses through this cost-effective tool that can help them quickly access the digital economy, prevent lost sales and improve cash flow by accepting contactless payments anywhere, anytime. According to the European Commission’s 2020 Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI)[1], Romania ranks 26th out of 28 EU Member States in terms of digitalization, and the vast majority of SMEs are not using digital technologies. For this reason, we want to work with our partners in the ecosystem to support small businesses to adapt and develop their digital capabilities in order to meet consumers’ demand for cashless payments. Visa Tap to Phone could be one of the most profound ways to reinvent the physical shopping experience” said Elena Ungureanu, Visa Country Manager in Romania.

“The Tap to Phone technology by Visa is probably one of the most important innovations of 2020 in the area of payments, marking the acceleration in the digitalization and simplification trends.

Its successful integration in the Alpha PhonePOS app completes the payment ecosystem offered by Alpha Bank Romania and meets the needs of all merchants for whom mobility is essential.

The simplicity of use, low costs and flexibility of this technology ensure a complete and efficient experience, adapted to current market conditions. The interest shown by our clients towards this solution is very high and we are proud to be able to contribute in an innovative way to the modernization of the payment system in Romania”, stated Cristian Dragoș, Retail Executive Vice-president, Alpha Bank Romania.


Reinventing In-store Shopping, No Longer Constrained to the POS

According to Visa data[2], casual dining, travel resources and grocery are currently the most typical category of use for Tap to Phone solutions. Tap to Phone can also elevate consumer experiences in additional ways including:

  • Pay on delivery: Tap to Phone decreases friction when consumers pay for delivery, eliminating the need for cash and limiting touch during the transaction.
  • Nomadic and service-based businesses: Make a sale from anywhere and get paid on the spot without having a hardline POS or adding payment accessories.
  • Line busting: With six-foot social distancing mandates in effect, lines can become overwhelming. Tap to Phone helps employees to checkout customers quickly, anywhere around the store.
  • Transit: Tap to Phone can help eliminate the need for standalone ticket machines and additional validation hardware for conductors.


Tap to Phone: How It Works

Sellers download an app, supported by their acquirer, and after registering and selecting their participating bank, the sellers can start accepting contactless payments in just a few minutes. Tap to Phone builds on top of the security of an EMV chip transaction, in which each transaction contains a dynamic cryptogram that cannot be reused. To see more about how Tap to Phone works, a video demonstration is available here.


Global Opportunity for Tap to Phone by the Numbers

  • Tapping to pay, or contactless payments, is growing rapidly in the COVID-19 era. Visa has seen tap to pay payments grow by 40% year-over-year[3].
  • In a recent Visa survey, nearly half of consumers (48%) said they would not shop at a store that offers only payment methods requiring contact with a cashier or shared machine like a card reader[4], making it critical for businesses to expand their acceptance methods beyond cash.
  • Two billion Android devices globally could transform to payment acceptance machines[5].
  • Tap to Phone holds particular promise for the 180 million micro and small merchants (MSM) around the world, where fewer than 10% of MSMs in many emerging markets currently accept digital payments[6].
  • In a survey conducted by Visa[7], 63% of MSMs said they would likely implement Tap to Phone in their own businesses and more than 50% of consumers said they would likely use Tap to Phone if offered to them.


[1]  https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/scoreboard/romania

[2] Data provided by Visa’s Tap to Phone program participants from January 2019 through September 2020.


[3] Visa Inc, Q2 2020 Earnings

[4]Visa Back to Business Study,” August 2020

[5] IHS Markit cited by NFC Forum; December 2019

[6] “Small Merchants, Big Opportunity, The Forgotten Path to Financial Inclusion,” Dalberg

[7] “Understanding The Future of International Tap to Phone Acceptance Study,” Visa

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