Monday, March 31, 2008

Amex drops FOB

Amex Decides Express Pay Fob Doesn't Add Up - The Wall Street Journal
American Express is abandoning its "Express Pay" fob--a payment device that attaches to a key chain--six years after it began testing it. It plans to focus on its traditional cards instead--installing computer chips in them that allow customers to hold the card up to an electronic reader instead of swiping it through a device.
"We have actually found that our customers prefer to use the contactless technology through our traditional cards" rather than the key fob, says Richard Flynn, a svp who oversees "cardless" payments at AmEx.

Card issuers have been encouraging merchants to install the new readers, which are supposed to speed customers through checkout lines. Fast-food restaurants and drugstore chains have been among the most enthusiastic merchants to try the new technology. A report issued by Aite Group estimates that some 40,000 merchant locations are already equipped with contactless readers.

Interesting decision. Thought this may provide some insights or provoke discussion from some of you.
Are there amex fob users reading this blog?
Does anyone feel they have they answers to RFID or other contactless payments?
Do you feel that a RFID enabled payment system on your mobile handset is the solution?


1 comment:

  1. Hey Dean-
    I don't have insight into the broader decision made by Amex specifically, But I own a regional chain of coffee houses in the South East, and we have hemmed and hawed about adopting the same technology to speed service. Our main hang up comes from guests we have spoken with about the technology. Most seem to be worried about personal info being broadcast to be harvested by some sort of reader. I have a feeling most have just seen too many SciFi movies, but as Identity theft seems to be the "best" type of crime to commit (no physical violence or contact of any kind, low risk, high reward and even when caught, low penalties)I understand folks apprehension. If it was a device specific to my locations- a gift card, etc, they are fine. If it is attached to a bank account like a debit card or even as a credit card (Where the provider takes the risk, not the consumer) then its a no-go. Interest falls nearly to zero. The idea that someone sophisticated enough could potentially snag your data and instantly use it scares folks to death. It is about perception and folks DO NOT perceive that anyone can really protect them from this sort of thing.
    I think it is a matter of time before it becomes common- but don't look to your average individual to be the pioneer in adopting the technology for everyday use.-Pioneers usually get the arrows- most will want to be settlers.
    There are tons of examples of technologies being adopted into daily use without there being a "need" for them, but usually folks are not scared of the repercussions. I don't think the reward of 17 seconds being saved in the coffee line yet outweighs the risks.

    Steve Schnitzler
    Port City Java
    Wilmington NC
    ssignatz- globalcombat!