American Banker | Wednesday, March 2, 2011
NFC Data Inc. is reintroducing the key fob form to contactless payments with its Sqwizz mobile decoupled debit card.
Sqwizz looks similar to popular small MP3 music players. A contactless decoupled debit card would sit at the front of the device. Users would link the card to any checking account via the automated clearing house system.
Though many companies are working to build contactless into mobile phones, NFC Data argues that this development path for the technology does not eliminate the audience for other forms.
"There are a lot of compelling reasons why NFC [phones] can be complemented by a device that fits on your key chain and not cannibalized by the phone and vice versa," said Ken Mages, NFC Data's co-founder and co-chief executive.
NFC Data, of Chicago, has an agreement with a Silicon Valley-area company to distribute 100,000 Sqwizz devices in August, Mages said.
NFC Data is positioning Sqwizz as more than just a payment device. It also is intended to mimic functions an NFC-enabled smartphone might perform, but at a lower cost.
For example, Sqwizz can communicate with near-field communication tags in smart posters, exchange data with NFC-enabled smartphones, store multiple loyalty cards and redeem coupons.
The front of the device features a light-emitting diode screen and scroll buttons to navigate a menu. The back has a secure PIN pad consumers would use as a security measure to access and use the device's multiple functions.
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