Dec 23, 2006

Spending money with a swipe; no-signature policy registers with buyers

I don’t get it.

Here’s the contactless story: “Eliminate the need for a signature so customers can get through lines quickly with a simple tap.”

And here’s the magstripe no-signature-required story: “Eliminate the need for a signature so customers can get through lines quickly with a simple swipe.”

The Kansas City Star just did a piece titled “Spending money with a swipe – No-signature policy registers with buyers”:


With just 30 minutes allowed for lunch, every second counts for Bobby Roberson.

So he often stops at the McDonald’s near his Broadway office and charges it on his Visa card, which thanks to a “no signature required” program is now as fast — or faster — than using cash.

“It’s quick and convenient,” said Roberson, who swiped his card and then rushed off with his $5.76 meal this week.


Visa says that in 2005 its credit and debit cardholders spent $49 billion on small-ticket purchases, up 25 percent from 2004. A recent advertisment by Visa encourages customers to use their cards for low value purchases. The message of the ad? “Money shouldn’t slow you down.” Exactly the same story as contactless, but without expensive contactless chip cards in people's wallets or special card readers that take up space on checkout counters.

The contactless story needs to become stronger. It can’t offer exactly the same benefits as those described in this article. It has to offer more.

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