Making a Pass

Credit card purchases without the swiping?
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This story appears in the April 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

After a successful trial run in Orlando, Florida, MasterCard will start incorporating its wireless radio frequency PayPass feature into new cards across the nation. Consumers just wave their cards in front of a PayPass-equipped reader. There's no swiping and no signing for most purchases under $25. Cards can still be used in the traditional way as a backup and for added security and purchase protections.

Nokia has also teamed up with MasterCard for trials of mobile phones with built-in PayPass capabilities. Placing this technology onto phones could also be a boon to the fledgling area of wireless advertising. Nokia has developed an SMS feature that allows retailers to send advertisements to consumers. The company will also test an MMS version for multimedia ads.

Expect it to take awhile for widespread acceptance, but entrepreneurs may want to think ahead about accepting this new form of payment. It's particularly suited for traditionally cash-based settings like fast-food restaurants, gas stations, drive-thrus and retail stores. It does require adding hardware to your credit card acceptance setup. Prices will vary depending on whether you're getting an entire system or just an add-on adapter piece. Talk to your credit card services provider for details, or visit for more information.

Edition: July 2017

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