Beam me up some cash – contactless payments take off

Last updated: 20 March 2014

‘Beam me up, Scotty!’ It’s not just in science fiction films this happens nowadays. Thanks to the evolution and advances of our technology, it’s incredible when you consider what can be ‘beamed’ in real life nowadays. Smartphones double as projectors, allowing users to project videos and pictures, information can be ‘beamed’ or exchanged between devices thanks to machine-to-machine technology, for instance on transport systems. More curiously, tragically departed rap stars can even be brought back to life as we experienced earlier this year with a 3D hologram of Tupac Shakur beamed on stage alongside Snoop Dogg at the Coachella music festival – although there is some debate over how sophisticated this technology actually is. And, as true Star Trek fans are no doubt aware, Scotty himself is being ‘beamed’ into space, or, that is, the actor’s remains are, as reported by Ben Quinn at The Guardian.

For those who have been following our blog for a while, you’ll also know that cash can now also be beamed, thanks to the rise and development of smart cards. And we’re seeing this trend truly take off, as our CEO said recently, our business in this space is even doubling.

It’s not just contactless cards that are on the increase, NFC-enabled phones also play a part in beaming cash. Juniper Research estimates one in five smartphones will be NFC-enabled by 2014 bringing many opportunities for retailers, transport operators, banks and credit card merchants and companies to provide points of contactless interaction. We’re already running a couple of pilots, in Nice in France as well as in Austin and Salt Lake City, USA and hope to roll out more as the business grows and all operators in the value chain collaborate to take advantage of these NFC-enabled smartphones.

The technology exists – ‘beaming’ shouldn’t be considered sci-fi or futuristic but available here and now! Which is why we’re in discussion with some of our favorite bloggers to see if we can challenge them to live ‘contactlessly’. Watch this space to find out more.

(Star Trek fans here may like to remind us that the catchphrase was never actually spoken in any Star Trek episode or film but that’s no reason why we can’t encourage its use for NFC and contactless payments.)