WaMu rolls out MasterCard PayPass debit cards

WaMu rolls out MasterCard PayPass debit cards

US bank Washington Mutual (WaMu) says it will issue up to 15 million debit cards featuring MasterCard's PayPass contactless technology to customers in 2008.

The bank began testing contactless payments across both credit and debit card platforms in partnership with both Visa payWave and MasterCard PayPass in April last year.

Now it says it will roll out between 12 and 15 million MasterCard debit PayPass cards in 2008, making it the largest issuer of the contactless card in the US.

The bank launched its debit PayPass MasterCard nationwide in January, offering it to new customers opening a chequing account and small business customers. Since March the bank has begun offering PayPass to customers renewing their cards.

The contactless technology enable customers to make purchase of less than $25 by tapping their card on a point-of-sale terminal reader at participating merchants.

Commenting on the PayPass cards, Nandita Bakhshi, division executive, consumer deposit products, WaMu, says: "Studies show that MasterCard PayPass cards have shorter transaction times than cash or signature transactions, and we believe the added ease and convenience is a benefit WaMu customers will appreciate."

Bill Mathis, group executive, US relationship management, MasterCard, adds: "Our research shows that cardholders who use their MasterCard PayPass cards tend to make them their preferred cards, which will deliver an economic benefit to WaMu by driving its cards to the 'top of wallet'."

In October MasterCard marked the issuance of its 20 millionth PayPass device with a consumer survey that indicates a growing acceptance of contactless payments as a replacement for hard cash.

The Global Cash Usage Survey conducted in 13 countries in 2007 by KRC Research suggests that a growing majority (55%) of consumers worldwide believe that one day there will be a cashless society where credit and debit cards will replace cash and checks for payments.

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