U.S.: Early Test In Texas Is Prelude To More Trials
Nokia embedded a contactless chip preloaded with a MasterCard PayPass application into an attachable “SmartCover” for the phone used in this early contactless-mobile trial. But neither the chip nor the application on it could communicate with the electronics of the handset. For the six-month trial, users could tap the cover at a handful of merchant locations, reportedly equipped with a total 18 contactless readers.
One of the first contactless-mobile payment trials of any kind, Nokia and MasterCard demonstrated their early interest in the technology with the project. Nokia would use the same concept of an attachable shell cover embedded with an NFC chip for its first real NFC phones, the 3220, announced in November 2004, along with the 5140. That is despite a conclusion from the 2003 trial that subscribers change their handsets too often to invest in putting chips in phone covers. MasterCard and Chase, along with two other banks, in 2003 also tested PayPass cards in Orlando, Fla., which led to Chase’s ‘blink’ card rollout a couple of years later.
Transaction numbers were reportedly low, although organizers said demand picked up once consumers were reassured about the security of the transactions. The trial also showed the need for alternatives to preloaded personalization of phones with account and other card data. And any rollout would require a user interface on the handset screen, organizers concluded.
* Trusted Service Manager: Defined loosely to include companies or other organizations securely distributing, provisioning and managing applications, generally over the air, on secure elements in NFC mobile phones; or licensing their platforms for this purpose.
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