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At Democratic Convention, First Data Corp. Showed Off Its GO-Tag

The company provided RFID-enabled commemorative badges to members of the media and delegates, who used them to pay for food and beverages.
By Claire Swedberg
Sep 11, 2008Members of the media and delegates at last month's Democratic Convention in Denver sampled a new NFC-enabled payment solution known as GO-Tag, supplied by electronic transaction services provider First Data Corp.. The company handed out commemorative badges that contained passive 13.56 MHz RFID tags complying with the Near Field Communications (NFC) standard, and functioned as $10 prepaid debit cards, to showcase how payments could be made without using a credit or debit card or cash.

The promotion, which included 5,000 pins, proved contactless payments could be made in non-traditional form factors, says Ginger Sayor, VP of product and business development for First Data Mobile's Commerce Solutions business unit. What's more, she adds, the technology also made transactions at the 100 point-of-sale terminals at the convention's concession stands faster and easier.

At last month's Demoncrative convention, First Data distributed commemorative badges that served as contactless payment cards.
First Data, based in the Denver suburb of Greenwood Village, Colo., provides financial transaction data services worldwide. The majority of financial transactions made globally, in fact, include some type of First Data service. The firm provides authentication and fraud-protection services for merchants, banks and credit card companies through its STAR Network, and also supplies gift cards, loyalty cards and electronic check acceptance services through TeleCheck. Recently, the company began offering NFC options as well.

The company's NFC-based technology is in use by the Bay Area Rapid Transit (see link SF's Transit System Offers Commuters Fast Access to Subways and Sandwiches), as well as by the Colorado Rapids professional soccer team, in the form of a Rapids Kickback Card—an NFC-enabled loyalty card for soccer fans. The Kickback card includes a breakaway key fob that can be attached to a key ring or bag, tracking the spending of users at the stadium's concessions and box office. A user can then apply for such rewards as discounts based on the spending data linked to the ID number of the RFID tag embedded in that person's fob.

Food services provider Sodexo has also completed a trial of the GO-Tag, in two First Data employee cafeterias—one at the Greenwood Village office, the other in Hagerstown, Md. In this case, First Data employees use NFC-enabled stickers encoded with a unique ID number linked to their own prepaid accounts, connected through the point of sale or via a Web site. Employees can load and reload value either at the point of sale or online, and have the ability to automatically reload if the balance drops below a specific threshold. Data regarding their accounts is stored in First Data's server, and linked to their sticker's ID number. The stickers are then attached to the backs of the employees' badges.

When the Democratic Party opted to hold its 2008 convention in Denver's Pepsi Center, First Data decided it would be a good opportunity to showcase its services. "It was something we did because the convention was being held in our base city—and what better place to do it," Sayor says.

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