Cashless Pioneers: Every Transaction Has a Story
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Bringing Tap-and-Go to the Masses (and My Brother)

MasterCard PayPass and I go way back. I’ve been working on the development, growth and evolution of this “contactless” mobile commerce platform since 2005.

If you’re not familiar with PayPass, it’s a tiny microchip and radio antenna embedded in your card, key fob, device or phone. This chip enables you to pay for items by simply tapping it on a reader at the checkout.

Although I’ve been involved with PayPass since we first introduced it to the market more than six years ago, it took a recent conversation with my 39-year-old brother to illuminate just how far we’ve come.

Mike (my brother) lives at the Jersey Shore and commutes to Manhattan for his job. Married, with two kids, he relies on PayPass to enable his daily routine.

After leaving his house in the morning, he stops for coffee at 7-Eleven (tap), before he stops at a newsstand to grab the paper and a bottled water (tap). When he gets to the city, he picks up a bagel (tap). He also relies on PayPass for lunch (tap), taxis to traverse the city (tap) and several stops on his return trip (tap tap). And of course, there’s always a need to stop at the grocery store or pharmacy (tap).

Contrast my brother’s routine to that of my 80-year-old dad, who meets his buddies everyday for coffee and enjoys the tap-and-go convenience he can experience at his neighborhood store.

I share those family anecdotes to illustrate the progress we’ve made with electronic commerce and the speed and convenience it brings to our daily lives.

I’m grateful for pioneers like McDonald’s, Chase and Citi, which helped pave the way for more widespread acceptance of this emerging technology.

Today, more than 88 million PayPass-enabled cards have been issued in 36 countries, and they’re accepted at about 276,000 merchant locations worldwide. It’s the ideal solution for environments where speed is essential, such as quick-serve restaurants, gas stations, vending machines, movie theaters, transit stations and sports arenas.

Most significantly, PayPass has helped facilitate the natural progression toward a future where mobile payments are the norm.