U.S. Bank Launches NFC Payment Pilot in Salt Lake City, Portland (Jan. 10, 2013)
Jan. 10, 2013
Salt Lake City’s focus as a hotbed of NFC-based mobile payment intensified today as U.S. Bank announced the launch of its “Go Mobile” app enabling some of its credit card customers to convert their iPhones to an NFC payment device. Salt Lake City residents can now wave their phones to pay at any merchant that supports contactless payment as part of either Google Wallet, the Isis mobile payment pilot taking place in Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas, or U.S. Bank’s effort, as multiple NFC pilots move forward worldwide. Residents of Portland, Ore., are also part of U.S. Bank’s NFC pilot.
The pilot also underscores the growing number of banks piloting NFC payment services with DeviceFidelity, a Richardson, Texas-based NFC technology provider. U.S. Bank said it has partnered with DeviceFidelity and Datacard Group to make Go Mobile available to new customers of its FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa credit card who have an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S who also opt in for the service. U.S. Bank is supplying participating customers with a DeviceFidelity sleeve containing a microSD chip that converts the phone into an NFC payment device. The case also has an extra battery extending the phone’s charge time by 50 percent, designed to increase convenience for frequent travelers, U.S. Bank said. The bank plans to expand the Go Mobile service “more broadly” later this year.
U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo and Bank of America have been involved in pilots with DeviceFidelity technology to add NFC capabilities to smartphones since 2010. Datacard Group clearly sees opportunity in the strategy and last year announced it had taken an equity stake in DeviceFidelity to support the development of peripheral devices to add NFC payment to iPhones. And, as Apple Inc. stays mum on plans to add NFC to iPhones, innovations to add contactless or NFC payment capabilities to iPhones and other non-NFC devices through add-on cases and peripherals continue to proliferate. TransCard last year announced plans to work with DeviceFidelity to use microSD chips to overcome the lack of NFC-enabled phones.