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Accelitec Partners With Fujitsu on RFID Payments

With one successful deployment under its belt, Accelitec is working with Fujitsu Transaction Solutions to develop a customer base for its PayPilot RFID platform.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Jan 25, 2007In late summer 2005, Accelitec, a Bellingham, Wash., startup, launched an RFID-enabled payment platform designed as a retailer-focused version of contactless payment systems emerging from the three big credit card associations: American Express, MasterCard and Visa. Dubbed PayPilot, Accelitec's new technology supports cards issued through all three organizations, as well as others based on prepaid accounts and electronic-check transactions.

The latter option is designed to save retailers from having to pay the relatively larger processing fees associated with credit or debit transactions. By offering incentives to consumers using PayPilot in this way—in the form of loyalty points or other special discounts for prepaid or e-check transactions—retailers can motivate their customers to sign up for PayPilot accounts (see Accelitec Unveils RFID Payment System).

Well over a year later, however, just one retailer—The Woods Coffee, a four-store chain in northwest Washington—has deployed PayPilot, in this case, under the brand name Speed Bean. The system has been well received by patrons, with 3,500 Speed Bean RFID fobs issued to date—for the sake of perspective, the town containing three of the four stores has only 11,500 residents—while more than 13 percent of the transactions made at the four locations use the Speed Bean fob. During the holidays, the company says adoption spiked as Speed Bean prepaid fobs became a popular stocking-stuffer gift idea.

"We let the retailer set the rules," explains Fred Miller, Accelitec's director of business development. "Some have talked about using it just as a loyalty device. The key is that we link into the merchants' own payment platform, so the type of payments they'll accept [under, for instance, a loyalty card program] is up to the merchant." Working with retailers to customize the PayPilot program to their needs, Miller explains, is what sets the PayPilot apart from the RFID-enabled cards issued by banks.

"The merchants can reach out to their consumers [with the PayPilot program]," says Miller. "When we talk with some merchants, such as pet stores or other specialty stores, they talk about having such a strong bond with customers." PayPilot is designed to help retailers personalize their interactions with consumers to build on their customer relationships. When a customer presents a PayPilot payment fob, it can call up a list of purchasing preferences that person indicated when initiating the account.

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