[Dave Birch] Well, that’s what someone said to me in Portugal a couple of weeks. I’d mentioned the story about how a bank and operator in China are launching something which Card Technology oddly called the first commercial project putting contactless stickers on the back of mobile phones but sounds rather like — in fact, exactly like — the Dexit scheme in Toronto. Anyway, Chongqing Commercial Bank began issuing cards with the contactless “Pay Ease” e-purse onboard earlier this month. Chongqing Mobile, a branch of China Mobile, will distribute the contactless stickers with the same “Pay Ease” purse on them for sticking to the back of the subscribers’ handsets. Several hundred merchant locations in Chongqing are already accepting the scheme: coffee shops, restaurants, beauty shops and cinemas. Cardholders will be able to reload the purse — using either the bank card or the telco sticker — at bank branches, putting up to 1,000 yuan (US$131) on it. Predictably, and rather confirming last week’s comments about contactless as a step on a mobile roadmap, Chongqing Mobile is considering moving to NFC phones when the handsets hit the market, probably next year sometime.

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We’ve been playing around with some plastic, self-adhesive, branded stickers on a couple of the projects we’re involved in and I have to say I’m enthusiastic about the possibilities in general, but I’ve been think about them in this particular context of delivering limited services to consumers via phone-mounted stickers as a way on engaging consumers, and trialing consumer services, in advance of full NFC deployment or mass market rollout. The advantages are obvious, and with a little intelligent back-end integration — so that someone, somewhere can (with informed consent) associate the sticker with a phone number or person — can deliver some great services. Low-value payment, yes, but also loyalty and so forth. Most importantly, it’s a simple and inexpensive way of piggybacking on the mobile without have to actually integrate anything into the phone, which I predict will bring some new and innovative solutions into the space.

These opinions are my own (I think) and presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]

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