Tuesday , September 22, 2020

AmEx Begins National ExpressPay Rollout, Signs 7-Eleven for Acceptance

American Express Co. today said it has commenced a nationwide rollout of its ExpressPay contactless card program and announced that 7-Eleven Inc. would accept the AmEx technology, which is being embedded in the New York-based T&E giant's Blue card. The Dallas-based convenience-store chain joins pharmacy chain CVS Corp. as national merchants accepting ExpressPay, which relies on radio-frequency identification technology to send account data from chip-embedded cards or other tokens to receivers linked to point-of-sale terminals. 7-Eleven, which announced last month it would also take contactless cards branded by Visa and MasterCard, has been testing RFID readers in 170 stores and plans to expand acceptance to its entire U.S. chain of 5,300 units. The ExpressPay rollout comes on the heels of a national rollout of similar technology from MasterCard and Visa, driven largely by card issuer J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (Digital Transactions News, May 19 and May 24). It also follows a three-year test AmEx has conducted in Phoenix, New York, and Singapore, which has also involved non-card form factors such as keyfobs. The company says the tests have generated “more than a million transactions” at “hundreds” of merchants. It says tender times for the transactions were 63% faster than those with cash. Contactless technology, which allows consumers to pay by waving a card or other token near a reader, is widely seen as a means of replacing cash transactions with electronic payments in stores with high throughput and low average tickets. Merchants that have participated in AmEx's Phoenix trial include hamburger chain Carl's Jr. as well as units of Dairy Queen and Quizno's Subs. The ExpressPay rollout has been expected at least since December, when AmEx signed CVS and said a national rollout would follow later in the year. This latest move represents the second time the company has touted a chip feature in its Blue card, which it introduced in 1999 with a chip that has gone little used. As with the Blue cards in circulation, the contactless card will also feature a mag stripe for conventionally swiped transactions. ExpressPay, like MasterCard's PayPass RFID product and Visa's contactless platform, follows the ISO 14443 standard, allowing for interoperability among the brands at the point of sale.

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