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MasterCard pilots a simpler way to pay

Trials begin to test new “contactless” card payment program, allowing customers to settle bills wirelessly at certain merchant terminals.

Having partnered with Chase, Citibank, MBNA and Multiple Merchants, MasterCard is testing a new “contactless” card payment program that eliminates the need to swipe the card through a physical reader. Instead, consumers can simply tap or wave their payment card on a specially equipped merchant terminal that then transmits payment details wirelessly.

“The introduction of MasterCard PayPass is a prime example of MasterCard’s commitment to providing our customers, and their cardholders, with a variety of innovative and secure options to meet their evolving payment needs,” said Art Kranzley, chief e-Business officer, MasterCard International.

The enhanced payment card features an embedded computer chip and antennae. Account details are communicated directly to the unique terminals and are then processed through MasterCard’s substantial acceptance network.

The new solution is designed for use in traditional cash-only environments, where speed is essential. Think fast food restaurants, gas stations, cinemas and parking facilities. The bad news for Middle East punters is that pilot schemes with financial institutions will be limited to the Orlando, Florida area at first.

However, since the MasterCard PayPass card can be used exactly like existing magnetic stripe cards in addition to the new PayPass feature, MasterCard is stressing the point that it can be used at any of its numerous acceptance locations around the world.

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