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Radio-Frequency Catching On

The major credit card companies are currently all working on creating cards or other payment tools that use technology that allows customers to walk up to a reader, point their card, key fob or token at the reader, and pay instantaneously for goods.

The system relies on radio frequency identification chips instead of a magnetic stripe swipes. Mobil/Exxon has had a successful contactless program for several years offering gasoline customers a small wand-type fob that allows payment at pumps.

The latest development is an announcement by American Express that its ExpressPay contactless card program will be accepted by 7-Eleven. The company has already made agreements with several other national retailers such as Sheetz, CVS pharmacy, and Ritz Camera.

Meanwhile MasterCard and Visa are also both working on contactless products. MasterCard has been signing up merchants for the more than a year including McDonald's and Regal Entertainment Group. Visa has been testing the popularity of the technology with both cards and on cell phones in Asia and other parts of the world.

Copyright © 2005 Bankers' Hotline. Originally appeared in Bankers' Hotline, Vol. 15, No. 8, 8/05

First published on 08/01/2005

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