January 29, 2005

In a move that is expected to speed the adoption of contactless payment devices, retail pharmacy CVS will accept American Express' (New York) ExpressPay, a contactless form of payment that uses radio frequency identification (RFID). CVS has already enabled ExpressPay terminals in 485 stores in Arizona, Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Kansas, and Missouri and plans to roll out the payment terminals nationwide in more than 5,300 locations by midyear.

The RFID technology, provided by Texas Instruments (TI; Dallas), allows customers to hold an ExpressPay card next to a reader at checkout to make purchases. The payment is authorized in seconds without the need for a signature. According to VC Kumar, strategy manager, TI, even without a signature authorization, security risks are minimal with ExpressPay. "The same security applies with the mag stripe card," he notes.

Everyone Is a Winner

The technology, which has existed for about seven or eight years, has gained interest with other card companies, including MasterCard (Purchase, N.Y.) and Visa (San Francisco), and is now the preferred method for payment systems, Kumar asserts. "There is a lot of excitement about this," he says.

"Sales have come up and it has increased revenues. Banks love it because there are more transactions," Kumar adds. "It brings a lot of value to everyone."

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