It’s a really exciting time to be part of the U.S. payments industry, with the country migrating to chip-based EMV cards and mobile payment solutions being implemented on a range of connected devices. So we made our way to Salt Lake City for the Smart Card Alliance’s 2013 Payments Summit last week with a great sense of anticipation.
Moving the U.S. payments infrastructure from magnetic stripe to secure, chip-based EMV is a big (and vital) undertaking that will require everyone in the industry to come together on processes and best practice to make our payments infrastructure more secure. What was great to see at the summit was that every single player in our industry is ready and willing to collaborate. Attendees also widely agreed upon the need to prioritize education during the move to EMV. This means education across the whole chain: from everyone within the industry, to the consumers that are going to be using the technology.
The other big topic that I was very interested to hear about was the progress of the Isis mobile wallet pilots. As you may know, the Isis wallet allows consumers to store and use their payment cards, loyalty cards and coupons with their NFC-enabled mobile device. Gemalto’s North American headquarters are based in one of the two Isis pilot cities, Austin, with the other is taking place in Salt Lake City itself.
I’m happy to report that the pilots, launched in October of last year, are doing very well. Jim Stapleton, Isis chief sales officer, said that in Salt Lake City, active users are using the Isis wallet five or more times per week including on the Utah Transit Authority’s (UTA’s) transit system.
The UTA has already implemented a fully functioning open payment system in which travelers use their contactless payment cards branded by Amex, Discover, MasterCard or Visa to pay directly for fares. This made it extremely simple for the UTA to integrate the Isis mobile wallet into its system, letting travelers use their NFC mobile handsets to securely and contactlessly pay for fares.
Since implementing mobile payments, the UTA saw an increase of contactless transactions per day, from 400 to 1,000, and it’s still growing. This is a great example of a transit agency that is really using payment innovation like NFC mobile payment to its advantage. Passengers benefit from increased convenience, and stations and payment points can process customers much quicker, making traveling less stressful for everyone.
2013 will be another year of growth and innovation for the payments industry and it’s clear from last week’s summit that American consumers have a lot to look forward to. If you have any comments or questions about the summit, let us know via the comments box below!