First Data Corp. has introduced a contactless payment sticker that incorporates all the capabilities of a card.
The Denver payments company said Friday that it will distribute 5,000 of its Go-Tag stickers to delegates and media this week at the Democratic National Convention. The stickers can be attached to anything, though these will be attached to commemorative pins.
They measure about an inch by an inch and a half and function as reloadable prepaid cards.
Dom Morea, the senior vice president of First Data's mobile solutions group, said the stickers will enable people to turn almost anything into a payment device.
The company tested it with about 2,000 employees, and many attached the device to their ID cards or their mobile phones.
"You can put it on any personal item, something that you always have with you," Mr. Morea said in an interview Friday.
For the test, the stickers were distributed with plastic cards, but people quickly realized that while the cards looked like standard payment cards, they served no actual need, and few people attached payment stickers to them.
Mr. Morea said that he expects many consumers will want to stick them on their phones, which he said would help promote the idea that phones can be used as payments tools.
"This creates an excellent bridge to the future," he said. "It presents a great stepping-stone to mobile payments."
The Go-Tag is currently available only as a prepaid device, though Mr. Morea said there is no technical reason why it could not handle standard credit and debit card accounts.
Users can reload the tags at the point of sale, using credit and debit cards or cash, and can set up recurring reloads online, charged to a credit or debit account. First Data, a unit of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., is working on a system to reload them with automated clearing house transactions.
Jennifer Roth, a research director with TowerGroup Inc., an independent research unit of MasterCard Inc., said consumers will like the idea of being able to attach the sticker to anything that is convenient to them.
Consumers will likely be willing to try the Go-Tags as a prepaid account, but might initially be reluctant to use them as a replacement for a credit or debit card, Ms. Roth said. "This helps give consumers a comfort level."
Companies promoting contactless payments, however, must address two different issues, Ms. Roth said: users and acceptance. "New devices like this are great, but they don't solve the acceptance problem."