Right now, we’re working on a pilot program to accept mobile payments. It would link to a customer’s personal credit card information and store it on his or her phone so the customer could use the phone to pay with a credit card at the point of sale.
Mobile Pay: How It Works
The method we’re looking at would use a chip embedded in the phone and near-field communication (NFC) technology. These kinds of chips are already embedded in smart credit cards, and at our point of sale there’s a device where you can swipe your card and put in your PIN or signature. That same device could read the chip in the phone and pass payment information that way. So the basic technology is already in place at our stores and, I think, at a lot of retailers. We’re teaming up with a well-established provider and with cell phone companies to offer this option.
The advantage for customers is that they wouldn’t have to carry their credit cards to shop in our store. But also, the phone could carry information for any gift cards they have or coupons they’ve received. We’re also looking at making a loyalty program tie-in with this application, so that just as they won’t have to carry credit cards, customers won’t have to carry their loyalty cards either. All that information will be stored in the phone.
Mobile Pay: How We Ensure Security
We pay very close attention to the security aspects of any payment method. In this case, it’s using an established technology (NFC), and we already have security measures in place to protect it. We will work with the provider to make sure the application on the phones themselves is equally secure.
I look at mobile communication as having two phases. Right now, in the first phase, not many retailers offer it. It’s a point of convenience that we can provide, and it’s a differentiator for us with our customers. In a few years, it will be commonplace, and companies that don’t offer it will be at a competitive disadvantage.
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