BofA To Issue Contactless Payment Stickers To Customers

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Bank of America Corp. is building on its mobile payments strategy with plans to issue contactless stickers to its credit and debit card customers in 2011.

Contactless stickers can be attached to mobile phones and other devices, allowing the devices to be used like a contactless card at the point of sale. Bank of America also plans to expand the types of contactless cards it offers to include debit, according to American Banker, an affiliate of Credit Union Journal.

“Offering contactless debit cards and payment stickers is another step in” B of A’s push to add “more convenient, more secure and faster” payment types, David Owen, the company’s payment products executive, said through a spokesman Monday.

Payment stickers are considered a bridge to more advanced mobile payments options that involve embedding near-field communication chips inside mobile phones. Efforts to make such systems available to U.S. consumers are underway, though experts say it could be a few years before NFC phones gain wide-scale adoption.

Bank of America is working with Visa Inc. on a test that involves inserting a microSD card that stores payment information into a consumer’s mobile phone. Visa, which is partnering with DeviceFidelity Inc., also has trials under way with JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co. and U.S. Bancorp.

Consumers can wave their phones in front of a merchant terminal equipped to accept Visa contactless payments to pay for transactions.

Brian Riley, a senior research director with TowerGroup in Needham, Mass., said stickers are a “low-impact way” of getting into the mobile payments market. “Everybody should have some kind of position in it,” Riley said.

Last week AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA Inc. formally announced a joint venture to develop an NFC mobile payments network called Isis with Discover Financial Services and Barclays PLC's Barclaycard US. The group plans to add other banks as issuers of the accounts. Google Inc.’s chief executive, Eric Schmidt, has said the next version of the company's Android mobile operating system would be able to support NFC technology.


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