Tuesday , September 22, 2020

Chase Brings ‘Blink’ to Loyalty Cards with Contactless United Card

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has installed contactless payment technology in the cobranded Visa credit card it issues with United Airlines Inc. The new card, said to be the first airline loyalty card to feature the technology, is part of an ongoing launch the bank has conducted since May of cards equipped with radio antennae and chips to complete transactions. The new United cards are already in the hands of 200,000 cardholders in Colorado, Chase says. Denver, one of two cities where Chase has so far rolled out what it calls its “blink” technology, is a United hub. Chase began introducing contactless cards this spring with launches in Atlanta as well as Denver, and now claims to have issued 1.5 million of them. Accepting merchants include 7-Eleven Inc., Arby's LLC, CVS Corp., and Regal Cinema. The bank says it intends to introduce its blink cards in other unnamed markets by the end of the year as part of the unfolding national rollout. MasterCard International, Visa U.S.A., and American Express Co. have all introduced contactless payment platforms that operate on the same international technology standard, making one terminal capable of accepting contactless transactions from cards branded by any of the three card companies. In contactless payments, a radio signal from a card or other payment token carries card-account data, replacing the conventional swipe and speeding tender times. Chase says for example that contactless transactions in drive throughs are up to 20 seconds faster than with cash. The bank and the airline hope faster transactions will add appeal to the United card, which awards holders with one mile on the airline for each dollar they spend on the card. “We are confident that this will be a big hit with our customers,” said Dennis Cary, senior vice president of marketing for United, in a statement. The Chase-United development is the second concerning contactless payments in the past seven days. Last week, Citigroup Inc. announced it would soon begin issuing key fobs equipped with MasterCard's PayPass technology for use with the bank's debit cards, with plans to distribute 2.5 million of the devices (Digital Transactions News, Aug. 24). In separate news, the pace of contactless rollouts has prompted the Smart Card Alliance, a trade organization based in Princeton Junction, N.J., to form a contactless payments council to promote the technology by providing education to consumers, merchants, and issuers.

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