Sunday, August 2, 2009

RFID? (my apologies that this is not about ecommerce)

Whether you call it PayWave (Visa), ExpressPay (AMEX), or PayPass (MasterCard), you do not hear much about this technology these days. Today I was at my local Office Depot and I noticed that they had capable terminals so I purposefully pulled out the one enabled card I have, AMEX Blue, and tried to use it. Apologies to all my former POS colleagues but it was not working. The clerk had to grab my card and swipe the old standby Mag Stripe through the terminal's reader. He commented - "it fails about every 20th transactions". My luck!

We Americans take a lot of guff from the global payment marketplace that we never adopted Chip cards and with all the noise about RFID, it is barely scratching the suface. Having personally sold a few hundred thousand mag stripe based terminals, I recognized one key value of RFID was solving the mag stripe wear and tear issue. Of course, that isn't enough to justify the deployment expense. One of the other projected values, speed of transaction, barely exists under the best of circumstances especially compared to customer activated terminals and <$25 receipt-less transactions becoming all the rage. The only thing left is a slight enhanced security benefit from the dynamic CVV, but unfortunately that is probably not enough to justify the expense of deployment even combined with the mag stripe failure issue.

About all I can say is I am glad my physical POS hardware days are behind me!!

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