How ready is the US for contactless payments?

Seasoned readers of the blog will know all about the contactless challenge we ran in London last year. Two of the city’s finest mobile bloggers, Ewan MacLeod and Jon Choo, went head-to-head as they put London’s NFC payment infrastructure to the test. The findings were enlightening on the state of contactless payments in the UK, highlighting both strengths and weaknesses from suppliers and retailers alike.

Now it’s time for the US to show what it can do. Yes, the contactless challenge has arrived in the largest economy in the world and two more intrepid bloggers will be putting contactless payment infrastructure to the test. Josh Kerr will be blogging about his experiences in Austin, TX, while Kathy Dalton will be telling all about the infrastructure in Salt Lake City, UT.

We’re delighted to have two great writers and technology enthusiasts taking part as the Challenge goes stateside. Strategy Analytics recently revealed that “NFC handsets have reached a tipping point this year and global volumes will surge an impressive 138% in 2013”, so the availability of handsets for consumers should not be an issue. Both cities have already been high-profile hosts of NFC solutions, so it will be extremely interesting to see what the challenge brings this time around. We’re certainly excited to see what we can learn about the current state of contactless payment infrastructure in the US.

Contactless-Challenge-nfc-handshakeThe main challenges we’ve tasked our brave bloggers with are listed below, but as in London, we’ll be opening up the field to suggestions for different challenges, so let us know in the comments box below, or on Twitter via the hashtag #GemaltoNFC to get involved, speak with us and our bloggers, and share ideas on how each blogger can increase their points total!

  • Buy contactlessly at a drive-thru
  • Buy groceries
  • Watch a movie at the movie theatre
  • Add money to your phone credit
  • Pay for a hair cut
  • Social suggestion from one of your followers
  • Buy flowers using NFC
  • Go entirely contactless for a day
  • Send Gemalto a postcard
  • Pick up lunch
  • Buy a book at the bookstore
  • Buy music at a music store
  • Grab a burrito
  • Eat something sweet from a bakery
  • Pick up some medicine at a pharmacy
  • Buy sporting equipment
  • Buy gas
  • Get something for the home from a do-it-yourself store
  • Redeem a coupon from your mobile wallet #1
  • Redeem a coupon from your mobile wallet #2
  • Invite followers to the kickoff meetup at Whole Foods to learn more about contactless payments and the mobile wallet and NFC technology. For every attendee, a bonus point is earned. For anyone who uses NFC to pay, another point is earned.

If you’re a retailer in Austin or Salt Lake City, you may spot Josh or Kathy visiting your store and tweeting or blogging about their experience and progress.  Want to encourage them to stop by? Tweet them and extend an invitation!

The challenge kicks off on Monday and runs for seven days. Keep checking in with our bloggers and here on the Gemalto blog for the latest scores and learnings for each day of the challenge.

It only remains to say good luck to Josh and Kathy and let the battle commence!

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