Saturday , January 19, 2019

Chase Adds Contactless Technology to 1.8 Million Visa Debit Cards

JPMorgan Chase & Co., the largest issuer of contactless credit cards in the country with 7 million in circulation, is now adding contactless payment technology to its debit cards. The banking giant, which brands its contactless cards “blink,” has plans to re-issue 1.8 million debit cards with the Visa mark and contactless technology, which replaces card swipes with radio waves. The bank began releasing the new cards last month to checking-account holders in the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut area, where it says 2,000 merchant locations have the capability to accept contactless transactions. Nationally, about 30,000 locations are now equipped to process these transactions. The card re-issue coincides with the bank's decision to convert its debit cards almost entirely to the Visa brand from MasterCard. The Tri-State area cards account for most of the bank's MasterCard-branded cards, a bank spokesperson says. Following the brand conversion, only Chase's Continental Airlines co-branded debit card will remain MasterCard-branded. This move follows Chase's introduction of blink credit cards in the same area last fall (Digital Transactions News, Oct. 27), as well as rollouts earlier in the Atlanta and Denver areas. The credit card program has helped lay the groundwork for the technology on debit cards. “Our credit card customers have really like blink, so we're bringing the same convenience to our Tri-State debit card customers,” said Michael Cleary, chief operating officer at Chase's Consumer Bank, in a statement. Chase is the fourth bank to introduce contactless technology to its debit card base, and the first to do it with Visa-branded debit cards. Last year, Citicorp Inc., HSBC Bank USA N.A., and KeyBank all introduced contactless debit products on MasterCard International's PayPass platform. Citicorp's products were key fobs, while those of the other two banks were conventional cards. Last week, Wells Fargo & Co. became the first West Coast bank to adopt the Visa contactless platform, announcing it would in the second half of the year begin issuing upscale Visa Signature and Platinum credit cards with the contactless technology. The bank refused to say how many cards it planned to issue. Chase has branded its contactless card “blink” because terminals accepting the card emit a tone and flash a light to confirm transactions. In contactless card payments, customers wave a token or card near a terminal, rather than swipe the card, to initiate payment. An inlay embedded in the card, which includes a chip and antenna, sends card-account data by radio wave to the terminal, which is equipped as a transceiver. From that point the transaction proceeds as if the card had been swiped. MasterCard International and American Express Co. have tested contactless technology extensively and have found it to be faster than conventional card transactions, making the technology appealing to high-volume, low-ticket merchants. Visa USA introduced its own contactless platform last year. Visa and MasterCard waive their signature requirements on contactless transactions under $25, which also speeds up tender time.

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