[Dave Birch] I was down at SMi’s Contactless Cards conference in London this week (I ran the NFC payments workshop there — remember our competition?) and picked up the impression that the London contactless roll-out is not going entirely as smoothly as it might. The cards are rolling out, but the terminals are not following the same trajectory. And where the terminals are out there, they’re not transforming customer behaviour. The small transaction focus may be hampering deployment…

Yo Sushi has found that the £10 limit greatly reduces the number of transactions it takes and it also said that the lack of portable contactless terminals was a problem as was the accreditation process.

[From Payments Industry Thoughts: London Contactless Payments Stuttering]

Yet I’m sure I detected more enthusiasm from some of the bigger retailers who were thinking about setting aside under £10 terminals or lanes.

Sainsbury’s is to start a contactless payments trial as part of a multimillion-pound revenue protection programme. The retailer is selecting a vendor for the in-store reading equipment and will begin testing the devices in the coming weeks. “The introduction of chip-and-PIN has reduced the number of card-based scams considerably, but we have seen a substantial increase in cash fraud,” said Sainsbury’s national crime and investigations manager Phil Wilson.

[From Sainsbury’s checks out secure payments systems – 08 May 2008 – Computing]

That’s a perspective I hadn’t looked at for a while. Since there is a fair bit of theft in the retail world — I think they call it shrinkage — reducing the amount in the till also reduces the amount of cash being pilfered. Another line in the business case.

There were a couple of presentations that caught my eye because they supported my current enthusiasm for contactless stickers. The general opinion seemed to be that as mobile operators and handset manufacturers have yet to get a decent number (ie, non-zero) of handsets into the mass consumer market, and as banks and operators find it so hard to get along, maybe it’s better to just give up on the whole idea of mobile NFC payments, ticketing, loyalty and other services and just go down the sticker route instead. We ordered some stickers recently for a project we’re currently working on. The stickers contained a 32K Javacard with a 1K MiFare: that’s pretty cool, especially as they come preconfigured for an international payment scheme application as well. Just get the customer put the sticker on their phone and then text in the sticker ID or whatever, and away you go.

Credit card firm Visa today pledged that the 2012 Olympics will be entirely cashless for visitors.

[From The plastic Olympics: visitors to 2012 told ‘no cash is needed’ | News]

Come on! The Olympic sticker! Let’s do it!!

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

1 comment

  1. So who decides on whether or not to raise the £10 limit? £10 does not get you very much at all these days…about 2 dishes in Yo Sushi. The lack of an agreed ecosystem will seemingly forever hamper NFC adoption…I agree with you and think the sticker route will be the one adopted…hopefully it will enable more analysis on contactless payments and help bring the opposing players together…or maybe not.

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