More Contactless Payment Solutions On the Near Horizon

Nov 12, 2004

By Stuart Silverman

I am a committed user of E-ZPass on the highways.

I had that in mind while recently visiting the Video Mining people at Advanced Interfaces. They showed me video clips taken of customers ordering and paying at a fast food outlet. Until you are forced to watch it, you would never believe the contortions people go through to pay for a simple order with cash. Paying with a wave of a card has got to be so much simpler and faster. Adoption of this technology has been slower going in the U.S. than overseas, but seemingly not due to lack of effort of tech and credit companies.

Ingenico and ViVOTech have recently introduced contactless payment terminals. The latter’s ViVOpay 4000 model makes it possible for retailers to easily mount the new device on any POS terminal, enabling rapid checkout without cluttering counter space, according to the company’s press release.

MasterCard is heavily pushing their global smart card chip initiative. The company now boasts in excess of 200 million smart cards issued in Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, forty percent of which now carry an EMV chip. These cards are accepted at about 1.5 million EMV-enabled terminals worldwide, a figure that grew by 85% year to date.

And MobileLime is now getting some traction with cell phone based payment technologies in the Boston area. In a test with retail florist KaBloom, shoppers will be given the option to use their cell phones to speed the order process and, according to the company, “receive instant KaBloom rewards, notification of early flower arrivals and special promotions, and invitations to exclusive member-only events.”

Contactless payment appears to be yet another technology offering convenience to the consumer while providing a much tighter marketing/loyalty program connection to retailers and their suppliers.

Moderator’s Comment: What do you think about the adoption rate of contactless payment solutions here in the U.S.
vs. elsewhere in the world? How many different payment devices like wands, key chain fobs, and cards can we carry around?

Stuart Silverman – Moderator

Also, an interesting white paper by the Smart Card Alliance from March 2003:

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