[Dave Birch] There was a great session at Prepaid 2010 featuring Manchester City Football Club. As you may recall, they were one of the first football clubs in the world to move to an all-contactless stadium with no paper tickets. In passing, it was mentioned that an unexpected consequence of the transition to (fast) contactless transactions was that the fans all turn up five minutes before the game, so Manchester City were thinking of using loyalty points to tempt fans into the ground earlier on (so that they will buy stuff in the ground I suppose).

This echoed something I remember reading about Reading FC, so I went and looked it up.

Reading FC trialled a contactless system for one season but postponed the project due to financial constraints… “We found a few pitfalls by being an early exponent of the technology, which was a huge success ­ despite reservations from fans ­ and reduced queuing times from 13 minutes to about three minutes,” said Garry Hanson, the club’s IT manager.

“This caused newer issues we had not considered: fans used to filter out five to seven minutes before half time for food and drinks, but as their confidence grew, there was a rush at the half-time whistle instead,” he said.

[From Are contactless payments set to go mainstream? – 16 Jul 2009 – Computing]

Interesting, a certainly an unforeseen aspect of the contactless transition that needs to be factored in to the design of new systems. If the English festival scene is going to be transformed, then some of the lessons already learned will be very valuable indeed.

Music festivals that do not accept cash are set to come to the UK from next summer, the BBC has learned.

[From BBC News – Cash to be axed from UK festivals]

Will next year’s Glastonbury ticket be a piece of paper, an RFID wristband or a sticker for your mobile phone? When we implement the wristband and NFC phone pilot for O2 at the Wireless Festival, it worked perfectly, so I don’t see any reason not to get on with that implementation or a sticker-based implementation as soon as possible.

Talking about unexpected problem with payments, I had some fun today. My new PayPass sticker had arrived, and I stuck it on my iPhone and tested it with some kit in our lab to make sure that it was working properly. I was going to test it next week because I was kind of busy today, but (just as predicted in every single mobile commerce conference ever) I had forgotten my wallet and remembered my phone. I was reading something about prepaid…

MasterCard Worldwide today launched MasterCard Partners in Prepaid – a new initiative to stimulate MasterCard’s collaboration with partners and customers around the world and drive growth in prepaid.

[From MasterCard Partners in Prepaid Set to Drive Global Innovation and Growth | MasterCard®]

…and this reminded me that I had my MasterCard PayPass Tag (a prepaid product) on my iPhone, so I went off into Guildford to try it out at three places: Caffe Nero, Pret a Manger and Krispy Kreme. Here’s a short video showing you my sticker in action.

There was an unexpected reaction. When I paid using my iPhone, at two out of the three test retailers the person serving stopped me and asked me where I got the sticker from, which confirms to me that the consumer reaction to paying with phones is very different to the consumer reaction to the (n+1)th card, no what that card is. When people see you paying with an iPhone, they want to pay with their iPhone.


I also note that at one of the retailers, they used the generic word “Oyster” instead of “contactless”! It pays to get out once in a while.

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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