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'Contactless Payments' Poised To Surge

Spurred by support from credit card companies and merchants, a researcher calls the momentum behind contactless payments "mind boggling."
The use of so-called contactless payment systems, such as swiping specially-enabled phones or cards near point-of-sale terminals, will increase dramatically in the next year, according to a new study released Thursday by ABI Research.

That, in turn, will lead to a surge in all types of activity that use near-field communications such as RFID, the study concluded.

"The momentum in both of these markets is absolutely mind boggling," ABI Research analyst Erik Michielsen said in a statement.

Contactless payments are starting to catch on in Japan, where wireless operator NTT DoCoMo and the country's largest credit card company have been spurring usage. However, credit card companies in the U.S. and Europe also are enthusiastic about the technology, which speeds up sales transactions.

In the U.S., Chase Card Services is in trials with the technology. Other supporters include American Express and diverse merchants such as Walgreens, KFC and McDonalds.