May 20, 2005

Contactless Card Momentum Goes Blink

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JP Morgan announces it is going to issue millions of contactless cards in an effort to jumpstart the market in the US.

Visa launched its own contactless system in the US market in February this year, although at the time no cards had been issued and Visa couldn't confirm any retailer agreements according to Finextra.

The Visa and MasterCard cards - branded 'blink' - will enable consumers to pay by holding the plastic near a secure reader, instead of swiping the card or handing it to a cashier. The new point-of-sale terminal will emit a tone and signal - or blink - indicating payment confirmation.

The bank is to begin issuing the cards on a market-by-market basis early this summer. It is working to implement the technology at thousands of gas stations, quick-service restaurants, movie theatres, convenience stores and other merchants where speed and convenience are important. Early retail adopters include Sheetz convenience stores and the 7-eleven chain.

Earlier US cinema operator Regal Entertainment Group said it will accept MasterCard's PayPass contactless payment card scheme at its 558 movie theatres across the country.

Meanwhile -- a mishmash of standards for contactless smart cards is likely to restrain the growth of the technology at the point-of-sale, according to the latest market analysis from Frost & Sullivan.

The consultancy says 121.7 million contactless smart cards were shipped in 2004, and this figure is expected to reach 847.3 million in 2009.

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Posted by keefner at May 20, 2005 02:06 PM