When Blink was launched, the advertisements promised “No more lines” as customers didn’t have to sign and could get through the checkout faster. Since then, it has become clear that contactless rides on existing Visa and MasterCard programs which eliminate the need for a signature when paying with any magnetic stripe card. See my prior posts on Visa's No Signature Required program and MasterCard's Quick Payment Service program. Both associations have recently expanded these programs to a large number of merchant segments, in essence all of those addressed by contactless.
Since you can get fast, no signature transactions with all magnetic stripe cards already issued, speed cannot be the unique selling proposition of contactless and "no signature required" cannot be the main advertising theme. (Although I loved Chase's Blink ad - see my post here.)
How about this angle: "The card never leaves your hand." True. The customer doesn't hand their contactless card over to the cashier. But that is certainly not a unique feature to contactless. Customers already run their own cards through readers at automated locations like petrol pumps, as well as in lots of retail outlets like supermarkets and convenience stores.
How about the novelty of tapping the card rather than swiping it? This one is totally unique to contactless, but how long before the novelty wears off?
Industry hype has allowed contactless to generate more press and analyst interest than the much bigger programs that offer the same fast transaction benefit. But at some point contactless is going to have to find its own unique selling proposition which is not available through Visa's No Signature Required program or MasterCard's Quick Payment Service program.
A hint on what the unique value of contactless could be? Contactless cards are chip cards, so they can do much more than traditional magnetic stripe cards.