WaMu today announced it will begin testing contactless payment cards that provide increased convenience and speed for cardholders during the merchant checkout process. The contactless test will be conducted across both credit and debit card platforms in partnership with Visa payWaveÂ® and MasterCard PayPassÂ® contactless programs.
The contactless payments enable consumers to simply tap or wave their payment card near a specially equipped merchant terminal. Payment information is transmitted wirelessly providing quick, simple and secure transactions by eliminate the need to swipe the card through a reader, or to hand the card to a merchant.
The computer chip enables end-to-end transaction security. Nothing else about the transaction changes; the purchase is authorized, processed and billed the same way it is today. The Visa payWaveÂ® and MasterCard PayPassÂ® contactless cards also have a magnetic stripe and function as traditional credit and debit cards in merchant locations that are not equipped for contactless transactions.
With contactless cards, customers eliminate the need to search for cash or hand their card to the cashier for purchases. They remain in control of their card during the transaction, reducing the risk of fraud. The feature is an easy-to-use alternative to cash for making everyday purchases where speed and convenience are important. Payment is authorized in seconds, and no signature is required for most purchases under $25.00.
WaMu’s decision to test the contactless platform is part of its continuing focus to improve the customer experience.
WaMu, one of the leading consumer and small business banks, is the nation’s sixth largest bank card issuer with more than $23.5 billion in managed receivables as of December 31, 2006. WaMu serves almost 11 million credit card customer accounts. The company has a history dating back to 1889 and its subsidiary banks currently operate more than 2,600 consumers and small business banking stores throughout the nation. WaMu’s press releases are available at http://newsroom.wamu.com.
Visa USA is a leading payment brand and the nation’s largest payment system, enabling banks to provide their consumers and business customers with a wide variety of payment alternatives tailored to meet their evolving needs. Visa USA is committed to increasing the choice, convenience, acceptance and security of Visa payments for all stakeholders in the payment system — members, cardholders and merchants. Through its 13,382 member financial institutions, more than 510 million Visa-branded cards have been issued to cardholders in the United States.
Visa products currently generate more than $4 trillion in sales volume worldwide. Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the world. In addition, Visa/Plus is one of the world’s largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in over 170 countries. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com.
About MasterCard Worldwide
MasterCard Worldwide advances global commerce by providing a critical economic link between financial institutions, businesses, cardholders and merchants worldwide. As a franchisor, processor and advisor, MasterCard develops and markets payment solutions, processes close to 14 billion payments each year, and provides industry-leading analysis and consulting services to financial institution customers and merchants. Through its family of brands, including MasterCard(R), Maestro(R) and Cirrus(R), MasterCard Worldwide serves consumers and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. For more information, go to www.mastercardworldwide.com.