At last, US banks are introducing contactless cards

To tourists from much of the rest of the English-speaking world — the UK, Canada, Australia — a visit to New York can feel like a trip into the past. They tap their credit cards against subway turnstiles or shops’ card readers and wait for something to happen. Nothing does.

Contactless cards, taken for granted in many countries, will at last roll out at scale in the US in 2019, giving card-issuing banks a chance to grab market share away from cash and, potentially, one another.

But the fact that tap and go payments have taken so long to hit the US shows the challenges to financial innovation in one of the world’s biggest markets.

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