RFID on Your Wrist

PayPass wristbands make it easy and convenient to buy hotdogs at the Giants’ football games.
Published: September 8, 2006

I received a little box in the mail from the folks who do PR for MasterCard’s PayPass RFID payment system. The box contained a rubberized wristband, not unlike the “Livestrong” wristbands sold to raise money for the Lance Armstrong foundation. This one had a football-shaped white piece of plastic on the front, with the PayPass logo in it. It had the New York Giants logo to the left or right of that. And behind the Paypass logo was an RFID transponder that could be used to buy hotdogs and other items at concession stands during New York Giants’ football games. The wristbands will be pre-loaded with $25, which fans can use to purchase goodies at any concession stand that accepts PayPass.

As a trial to test the popularity of the wristbands, MasterCard will give them away to the first 5,000 fans entering Giants Stadium for a game against the Indiana Colts on Sunday, Sept. 10. The company wants to test their popularity. If people like them, MasterCard might offer the wristbands as another option to PayPass customers.

Concessions at Giant Stadium began accepting PayPass cards at the start of last season. Fans can pay for purchases by tapping their PayPass card or device on an RFID interrogator connected to the point-of-sale terminal. There’s no need to sign anything for purchases under $25. The wristband is a new and convenient way for fans to pay for food at the game.

Will RFID wristbands catch on? I don’t know. No doubt, it’s a cool new device, but I’m not sure customers want to wear—or keep track of—different wristbands, keychain fobs and so on for different payments systems. It would be nice to have a global standard, so I could use my Giants wristband to pay for my gas, my soda at the Giants game or anything else.