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North American Bancard Gives Out Contactless Payment Systems

The company is providing the systems free of charge to 3,000 U.S. retailers, making it possible for merchants to accept RFID-enabled credit cards.
By Claire Swedberg
Sep 20, 2006North American Bancard (NAB), a provider of payment systems and credit-card processing services, is providing contactless payment systems free of charge to 3,000 retailers, mostly small or midsize, located in the 20 largest U.S. cities.

To carry out its plans, NAB bought ViVOtech ViVOpay 4000 contactless readers and VeriFone Vx570 terminals. Once a merchant deploys the hardware, a customer will be able to pay for purchases with just a tap of an RFID-enabled credit card. The ViVOpay reader will read a tag embedded in the card, then send the tag data to the VeriFone terminal, which will process the transaction through a dial-up or high-speed broadband connection.

Mohammad Khan
The 3,000 readers and terminals represent a pilot for NAB, says the firm's president, Marc Gardner. They will be installed in stores "in the next few months," he explains. At that time, NAB will determine whether to order another set of readers and terminals—and if so, how many.

The initiative is part of NAB's Free Terminal Program, a business strategy in which NAB provides retailers free terminals that are valid for the life of the agreement it has with each merchant. Studies have shown that payments made with contactless cards are faster than those made with cash or credit cards.

"NAB is always looking for new initiatives to help propel our growth," Gardner states. The contactless card system, he says, will benefit retailers that otherwise would not install the systems in their stores due to the expense involved. "There is no incentive for retailers to reach into their pockets to pay for the hardware needed for a contactless card system," Gardner says. "We pick up the expense for them, and in exchange we establish more business."

Banks and credit-card companies have issued more than 17 million contactless credit cards throughout the United States, according to ViVOtech's president and founder, Mohammad Khan. These cards contain an embedded 13.5 MHz RFID chip encoded with payment information, as well as a magnetic stripe on the back to ensure the cards are compatible with traditional payment-card readers prevalent at many retailers.

The ViVOpay 4000 supports all contactless payment platforms, including MasterCard's PayPass, American Express' ExpressPay and those of Discover and Visa.

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