JPMorgan Chase is to issue millions of contactless chip-based credit cards in a nationwide effort that could yet pave the way for a mass-market switch to smart payment cards in the US.
The Visa and MasterCard cards - branded 'blink' - will enable consumers to pay by holding the plastic near a secure reader, instead of swiping the card or handing it to a cashier. The new point-of-sale terminal will emit a tone and signal - or blink - indicating payment confirmation.
The bank is to begin issuing the cards on a market-by-market basis early this summer. It is working to implement the technology at thousands of gas stations, quick-service restaurants, movie theatres, convenience stores and other merchants where speed and convenience are important. Early retail adopters include Sheetz convenience stores and the 7-eleven chain.
The initiative comes two months after Visa and MasterCard put aside their traditional rivalry and announced plans to share a common contactless protocol, ensuring interoperability between cards at the point-of-sale.
In the absence of a convincing economic business case, the US banking industry has so far lagged the rest of the world in migration to chip cards. The decision by JPMorgan Chase to adopt contactless cards could kick-start a new market in next-generation technology that satisfies demands for improved convenience, quicker throughput and improved security.