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5/19/2005
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Chase To Issue RFID-Embedded Credit Cards

The technology, called "blink," will let consumers make purchases by passing RFID-chip-embedded cards in front a point-of-sale terminal.

Chase Bank U.S.A., a division of the nation's largest credit-card issuer, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., will begin offering credit cards that use radio-frequency identification technology. The technology, called "blink," will let consumers make purchases by passing RFID chip-embedded cards in front a point-of-sale terminal. Chase plans to issue millions of blink cards by the end of this year.

Chase, ranked as the No. 1 credit-card issuer on the Nilson Report this year, will begin rollout of RFID-chip-embedded Visa and MasterCard cards in two undisclosed cities this summer. The bank is partnering with movie theaters, convenience and specialty retailers, restaurants, and drug stores, where customers will be able to wave their cards in front of a point-of-sale terminal at checkout instead of swiping their cards in a device or giving them to the cashier.

The new process is intended to give cardholders a quicker and more convenient way to check out and provides retailers with a more efficient way to conduct business, says Scott Rau, senior VP of Chase. "We hear from our customers that they are looking for new places to use their cards for a faster and more convenient service experience," Rau says. That includes fast-food restaurants such as McDonald's, which until recently accepted only cash as a payment method.

Sheetz Inc., which operates more than 300 convenience stores and gas stations in Pennsylvania and five other states, will be the first partner to issue a co-branded Chase credit card with blink technology, according to Chase. Chase expects to have thousands of locations across the United States accepting blink credit cards by the end of the year. 7-Eleven Inc. will be an early adopter of the technology and plans to test it in 170 of its stores, according to 7-Eleven. The retailer's goal is to have 5,300 7-Eleven stores in the United States accepting Chase's blink credit cards.

Some are concerned that waving cards from distances of up to 4 inches might cause payments to be accidentally charged to the wrong credit card. But Chase says its new cards will come with several security features that will prevent that from happening. For example, the point-of-sale terminals won't be able to read multiple cards at the same time, thereby limiting a transaction to one cardholder, Rau says. "The customers are in total control of their cards."

American Express, the fourth-largest credit-card issuer on the Nilson Report, also disclosed plans to introduce RFID-enabled credit cards called ExpressPay. CVS Corp. will be the first American Express partner to accept ExpressPay at its stores. CVS already has ExpressPay-enabled point-of-sale terminals in 485 stores in Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas, according to American Express, and plans a full rollout to its more than 5,300 stores by midyear.

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