Taking the Gemalto Contactless Challenge stateside

A couple of months ago, two bloggers in the UK took on Gemalto’s Contactless Challenge: a ten-day NFC quest in which they competed against each other to see who could be the most successful in going contactless. By the end, technology blogger Jon Choo emerged victorious with 227 points, while Mobile Industry Review’s Ewan MacLeod came in on 153. Their challenges including buying flowers, picking up lunch, getting a haircut…. all while using their mobile phone to pay contactlessly.

isis wallet

I was inspired to give myself a challenge when it came to NFC and mobile payments. Here in the U.S., we have only just begun to scratch the surface of what it means to have your wallet and cell phone coexisting in harmony. Isis, a consortium between AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, announced it would be piloting its mobile wallet in two cities in the U.S. with a nationwide rollout soon to come. Luckily for me, one of those pilots is happening in a great city and my home, Austin, Texas! It has been great to be able to witness consumers and merchants alike marvel at the concept of simply tapping and paying with a phone – so easy and so secure!

Although I’m pretty sure I couldn’t compete with the guys who took London by storm with contactless, I decided to venture out and see what worlds were open to me armed with my NFC- and mobile wallet-enabled phone. Like Jon and Ewan (see below video), I’ll admit I was a little trigger shy when I went up to pay for my smoothie at my local Jamba Juice, but fortunately the reader was right there ready to go. I pulled my phone out, tapped the phone onto the reader for about 3 seconds – and voila! Payment successful! It was so easy and quick! And much to my surprise, I had an offer waiting for me for a free wheatgrass shot – how great is that?! I walked away feeling so light and free – no heavy purse or wallet needed – just my cell phone (something I have with me at all times anyway). I’m so excited to witness the growth and adoption of mobile payments in the U.S. This is just the beginning.

To that end, I’m delighted to say that the Gemalto Contactless Challenge is going stateside. At SXSWi this year, more bloggers will go head-to-head to see where contactless payment can take them! Stay tuned for more on contactless over the coming months and don’t forget you can see all the posts on the contactless challenge by searching #GemaltoNFC here on the blog.