With major U.S. card issuers beginning regional and national rollouts of contactless smart chip technology for fast, secure payments, the Smart Card Alliance today announced the formation of a Contactless Payments Council.
The Council will work to facilitate the adoption of contactless payments in the U.S. through education programs for consumers, merchants and issuers.
"Contactless payment is an exciting new consumer payments technology that provides convenience, speed and ease of use to consumers and faster transaction times and increased spending per transaction to issuers and merchants," said Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance.
The need for education about the business drivers and security of the technology was a big reason to form the Council. "This new council will form one industry voice, including financial payments industry leaders and suppliers and reaching out to involve the merchant community as well. Our goal is to inform and educate the market about the value of contactless payment and work to address misconceptions about the capabilities and security of contactless technology," added Vanderhoof.
A contactless payment device contains a smart chip and an antenna. Instead of swiping a payment card or handing a card to a cashier, consumers simply hold the contactless device next to a contactless payment terminal and the payment is quickly processed. Recently, issuers representing all three major card brands, MasterCard, Visa and American Express, have launched contactless payment initiatives. Major fast food and convenience retailers, such as McDonald's, 7-Eleven and CVS/pharmacy, have also committed to deploying new point-of-sale terminals to accept the new contactless payment devices.
The Contactless Payments Council's projects will include web briefings, workshops at trade shows and the development of white papers and case studies. As a first priority, the Council will be developing short briefings to address areas that are widely misunderstood - notably, how contactless payments deliver additional benefits for payment transactions; what security features are designed into the new contactless payment programs; and what the differences are between RFID technology and the new technologies and methods used to implement secure contactless payments.
The initial co-chairs of the Council are Francine Dubois, Oberthur Card Systems; Wendy Humphrey, First Data Corporation and Mohammad Khan, ViVOtech. The Council will be managed by a steering committee composed of a cross section of the financial payments industry and contactless smart chip technology vendors. Steering committee participants are:
- American Express, Gail Francolini
- Atmel Corporation, Ian Duthie
- Axalto, Rahul Gadkari
- First Data Corporation, Wendy Humphrey
- Gemplus, Ernie Berger
- IBM, Mike Weekes
- JCB International Credit Card Co., Julie Krueger
- MasterCard International, Ken Moy
- Oberthur Card Systems, Francine Dubois
- SMART System Technologies, Inc., Michael Richardson
- VeriFone, Rob Regan
- Visa USA, Patrick Gauthier
- ViVOtech, Inc., Mohammed Khan
Alliance Technology and Industry Councils
The Contactless Payments Council is one of several new Smart Card Alliance Technology and Industry Councils, a new type of focused group within the overall structure of the Alliance. These councils have been created to foster increased industry collaboration within a specified industry or market segment and produce tangible results, speeding smart card adoption and industry growth.