Citibank Has High Hopes For High-Tech Jewelry

from the cash,-check,-or-necklace dept

Citibank plans to jumpstart the contactless payment market by sending out wirelessly enabled money clips and jewelry next year. The company is one of many that’s hoping to use the technology — which is already popular in Japan and Korea — to get people to quit using cash for small transactions. But while the Asian systems are built into mobile phones, and also act as a platform for other uses, like identification, the money clip idea seems a little weak. One analyst points out that a money clip is made to hold cash, and that not many people carry them anyway. As he puts it, “Why would you want to be showing people you have a lot of cash if you’re not using cash? That strikes me as being odd.” One problem, though, is that many of the companies pushing contactless solutions are all using non-standard, proprietary systems. Part of the reason FeliCa’s been so popular in Japan is that it’s emerged as an open platform that different companies can develop applications for. Citibank is using MasterCard’s PayPass technology, which uses the same standard as Visa and American Express’ planned contactless systems, though, which means that retailers will only need to have one type of point of sale equipment to read all three. Retailers aren’t going to want to pay for new equipment without any sort of clear benefit, a problem NTT DoCoMo attacked in Japan for FeliCa by paying for it.

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