Bank of America begins contactless m-payments trial

Bank of America begins contactless m-payments trial

Bank of America is conducting trials of contactless mobile payments technology as an alternative to low-value cash payments.

Around 500 staff at the bank's offices in Wilmington, Delaware are expected to take part in the pilot and will use their mobile phones to pay for purchases at vending machines, in a cafeteria and at an internal convenience shop.

Participants will pay for purchases by waving their hand sets in front of specially equipped readers.

Bank spokeswoman Betsy Weinberger told reporters that the trial is expected to last six to eight months.

BoA is one of the first banks in the US to trial mobile payments technology, although a number of financial services firms - including BoA, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo - have rolled out payment cards and keyrings based on contactless technology developed by MasterCard or Visa.

MasterCard said earlier this week that it was teaming with Nokia and 7-Eleven stores to conduct trials of of Near Field Communications (NFC)-enabled mobile phones with contactless PayPass capability.

Around 500 participants will be supplied with NFC-enabled Nokia 3220 mobile phones and instructions on how to add the PayPass payment functionality. Participants will then be able to use the phones to make purchases at any of the 32,000 merchant locations worldwide that accept MasterCard PayPass.

Earlier this year MasterCard begun trials its new PayPass wristband with 500 American football fans at the Giants Stadium in New York. The wristbands were pre-loaded with funds and were used to pay for purchses at concession stands around the stadium where PayPass is accepted.

In a separate statement, Oberthur Card Systems says it is releasing the smallest-ever card-based contactless payment fob, called VersaFOB, which features MasterCard's PayPass technology.

Dallas-based Texas Instruments (TI) provided a miniture inlay in PVC pre-laminate form to Oberthur for the VersaFob, which is the size of a postage stamp.

Francine Dubois, director of marketing, financial products and services, Oberthur Card Systems of America, says: "TI's ability to create such a small antenna to fit our unique VersaFOB concept allows us to produce MasterCard PayPass certified contactless payment fobs that can be personalised and mass-produced using standard processes, lowering costs for our banking clients while offering them a unique product."

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