The idea of "contactless payment" systems seems to get a lot of attention. Despite being around for quite some time already, there are a number of initiatives underway, with the latest coming out of JP Morgan Chase, with a new contactless credit card solution called "Blink." Basically, it's a regular credit card -- and in most places you wouldn't use it any differently than a regular credit card. However, in the few places that have been convinced to install special proprietary point of sales readers, you'll be able to just wave your credit card at the reader, rather than scanning it -- a la the Exxon Mobile Speedpass thing. But, here's the problem. It's not Speedpass. It's not FeliCa (from Japan). It's not Dexit (from Canada). It's not Moneta (from Korea) or any other of the contactless payment solutions that keep coming out. So, McDonald's has already chosen to work with Speedpass. Are they now going to install another set of proprietary equipment to work with this Blink card as well? And, oh yeah, Bank of America already has their own similar system for restaurants that doesn't appear to be compatible with either of these also. Oh, and don't forget the solution that AT&T Wireless (now Cingular) created last year as well. This basically makes such an offering less useful for everyone. People who find it useful would need to get new devices/cards from every provider, and retailers aren't going to want to install a different point of sale system from each of these providers. At least in Japan they're trying to standardize around FeliCa. And, then, of course, there's the question of whether or not most people really care? Is swiping a credit card really so hard?
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