BASELINE DECEMBER 2007
R ETAIL PAYMENT TECHNOLOGIES ARE
undergoing radical change, as small fobs dangle
off key chains to pay for everything from gas
and tolls to books and coffee. Alternative online
payments are soaring in popularity—especially
a mong younger consumers—and cell phones across the world
are being used in place of credit cards to pay for meals, bicycles
and even automobiles.
The most exciting changes, though, are happening in
Europe and Asia. In the U.S., radical changes in payment form
factors are being stymied by a pair of payment prima donnas:
the wireless carriers and the credit card companies.
Mobile payment efforts have been all but halted by U.S.
wireless carriers who want to maintain control over the devices
and healthy commissions on all mobile transactions. And the
credit card companies—which already garner retailers’ wrath
over processing fees—are
proving adapt at blocking
But that doesn’t stop
retailers from trying to
sidestep the dual obstructions.
When the 141-store
regional Pathmark supermarket chain unveiled
its combination loyalty and payment card
in October, it had
two distinct goals.
Pathmark wanted to
accelerate the checkout
process so it could process more purchases
per hour. The biggest
paying by check. The
supermarket also wanted
check and charge.
cell phone and
will save time for