New York

TOTAL SCORE: 163

Start spreading the news: the big apple is making real progress on the contactless front and using the technology for a whole raft of applications, from payments and mass transit, to paying for a ride in one of the city’s famous cabs and accessing the stadiums of some of its biggest sports teams. So where are New Yorkers getting the chance to enjoy the contactless experience?

Like many major cities, its mass transit network has already discovered the benefits of the technology. The city has operated contactless ticketing for some time, but in recent years it has tried to combine transport with other applications using open loop systems.

Its main public transport operators – the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and NJ Transit – have trialed open loop systems that enable commuters to use a variety of contactless credit and debit cards to pay for travel directly at railway gates and on buses with the backing of companies such as Visa, MasterCard Worldwide and Citigroup. In one of the first trials, Citigroup customers could tap their MasterCard PayPass cards, key fobs and NFC phones at 80 fare gates in 30 metro stations along the Lexington Avenue subway line. The devices could also be used to make contactless purchases at McDonald’s restaurants, 7-Eleven stores and other retail points of sale. These trials have since been expanded and now enable consumers to make payments via a Nokia 6131 NFC handset.

The Port Authority has also partnered with NJ Transit for a pilot of contactless bank cards, key fobs, cell phones and other devices to pay fares on all of the region’s transit systems, including New York City’s subways and buses. The contactless devices were tested at all 13 Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) train stations and on two connecting NJ Transit bus routes in 2009.

Contactless has also made it into the city’s taxi cabs. In 2007, Visa Creative Mobile Technologies (CMT) launched a program which saw thousands of New York taxicabs equipped with contactless payment readers. This initiative coincided with the company’s launch of its ‘Life takes Visa: Morning in Manhattan’ commercial, which showed New Yorkers making small ticket purchases using payWave. The New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) has also implemented contactless payment.  An estimated 13,000 of its distinctive medallion yellow taxicabs now use VeriFone contactless technology.

It has managed to gain a foothold in the city’s leisure sector and can be used to pay for orders at Sandbar Concessions at a group of Broadway theaters. And, since 2005, MasterCard PayPass has been accepted at a number of stadiums including the homes of the New York Mets, the New York Yankees, the New York Giants and the New York Jets.

The technology is also getting a look-in in the ID sector, with the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issuing contactless ID cards to members of several native American tribes, including the Seneca Nation of New York, as part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

Unsurprisingly, contactless has also made it into the world of payments in the city. Back in 2005, the Duane Reade drug store chain, which has more than 250 outlets in New York, started accepting MasterCard PayPass contactless payments.

HSBC has since trialed PayPass at an estimated 36,000 US merchants. A number of its employees in New York and Chicago were given a Nokia 3220 handset for the six-month pilot, which enabled them to download credit card data and to make contactless payments wherever PayPass was accepted.

Residents in the greater New York City tri-state area, including New Jersey and Connecticut, have been able to use Chase Bank USA’s ‘blink’ contactless cards for several years. The cards have been issued to around 1.8 million cardholders and can be used at around 2,000 merchant locations in 481 cities and 11 counties in the region. Merchants accepting blink include 7-Eleven stores, AMC Theaters, CVS/pharmacy, Duane Reade, Regal Entertainment Group and Sony Style stores. The brand’s marketing and advertising campaign was a key element in the rollout with card members being encouraged to ‘blink lunch’, ‘blink a drink’, or ‘blink a movie’ by highlighting how the card worked with leading merchants. The campaign was rolled out across print, radio and outdoor advertising.

Citigroup, MasterCard Worldwide, Cingular Wireless and Nokia have carried out a consumer technology trial of NFC-enabled cell phones. Pre-selected Citi MasterCard cardholders with Cingular Wireless accounts were given Nokia NFC-enabled handsets with PayPass functionality. Trial participants could also take part in a New York City Subway contactless transit fare payment trial organised by Citigroup, MasterCard Worldwide and MTA New York City Transit. Other companies involved in the trial included NXP Semiconductors, Giesecke & Devrient and ViVOtech.

New York’s contactless initiatives are making use of interim form factors as well. For example, Adirondack Trust, a local New York State bank, offers a mobile contactless payments service to business and personal customers using Bling Nation’s mobile sticker-based Community Payments Service. Customers are given a contactless sticker that they put on the back of their cell phones so they can tap and pay for purchases and redeem loyalty incentives.

Bank of America is also getting in on they act by testing contactless mobile payment based on microSD cards from DeviceFidelity. The microSD cards have Visa payWave applications which can be inserted into smartphones, including the Apple iPhone and Blackberry models 9000, 9630 and 9700. Verizon and AT&T network subscribers can use the cards and a Bank of America mobile wallet with their smartphone handsets. They can use their contactless-enabled phones at any of the approximately 75,000 merchant locations in the US that accept payWave.

Category Number

Score

Point of sale terminals/readers deployed

501+ 7
Different types of contactless device 4

7

Number of contactless devices

5001+ 50
Number of applications 5

5

Total number of service providers involved

40 40
Number of banks in partnership 5

5

Number of operators in partnership

3 3
Number of merchant locations 201-500

6

Transit operators in scheme

5 5
Parking sector 0

0

Vending

0 0
Entertainment sector – football, leisure, congress etc 5

5

Public sector activities – libraries, schools etc

1 1
Smart poster environments in place 0

0

Marketing campaigns rolled out

11 11
Length of time project implemented 25 months +

5

ROI – future potential

7 7
Green credentials 1001+

6

Social equality

0 0
Total

163

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. New York: If contactless can make it here, it can make it anywhere. « Contactless & NFC City League - December 7, 2010

    […] here for the League Table on New […]

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