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Could Mobile Payments Get a Boost from Lowly Stickers?

By Jim Bruene on August 20, 2008 4:42 PM | Comments (6)

image Even though I have credit cards from Citibank, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, American Express and Chase, I have never been offered the opportunity to add contactless payment capability to my card, so I still have no firsthand experience of that particular wave of the future. 

And it hasn't been too high on my list of things to try, since it still requires carrying a piece of plastic or an additional device such as keychain fob (inset). I don't see much benefit to tapping a piece of plastic compared to swiping it.

However, I do look forward to NFC-enabled mobile phones. But given the hurdles for adoption among carriers, payment processors, and issuing banks, I wasn't expecting that much before the next summer Olympics.

But now an interim workaround is being tested around the world: the contactless payment sticker. It's a quarter-sized sticker you plop on the back of your mobile phone making it instantly payment-enabled.

That allows consumers to leave their wallets at home, a nice benefit for outdoor enthusiasts, club goers, or anyone who doesn't want to worry about losing their wallet while on the go. Of course, we'll need a few million more contactless-enabled merchants before the wallet-free world is realistic for most, but widespread use of stickers could move that along (see note 1).

Who has it?
There are several rollouts under way around the world. For example:

USA Technologies Pay Dot contactless payment sticker

1. There are about 110,000 PayPass merchants worldwide, less than 1% of the 25 million locations that accept regular MasterCard cards. 

Comments (6)

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PayDot needs to redesign its artwork to be taken seriously. I assume each bank can/will use their own artwork when they become a PayDot customer, but that sticker isn't going to help sell the concept.

You might also want to add the offering from the Mobile banking provider - TYFONE I believe they use an integrated miniature antenna and contactless, smartcard/NFC controller and have Mobile Banking!



I agree with your observation that contactless stickers can help workaround the deadlock between banks and telcos. It will be interesting to see whether the above companies (or others) find a way to scale their offerings where by these stickies become a more sustainable offering.


Is the phone required for the sticker to work?

Jim, you may also be interested to know that First Data is introducing a contactless payment technology at the Democratic National Convention. It will appear in the form of a commemorative pin at the DNC, but stickers, wrist bands and other form factors are available.

For more information, see http://tinyurl.com/go-tags

Full disclosure: I work for First Data.

Jim, Heartland Payment Systems, one of the nation's largest payments processors, brought payment by contactless tag to North America last fall when it launched an innovative program at Slippery Rock University in Slippery Rock, PA. This program is now being rolled out across the country. You can read more about it at www.OneCardGivesBack.com/SRU.

Thanks. Nancy www.HeartlandPaymentSystems.com

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