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Prepare To Pay In A Flash

It wasn’t very long ago – just within the past year or two – that credit cards were beginning to have chips inserted into them. The idea was that instead of having to sign for a purchase made on a credit card, the new “chip cards” would allow a consumer to punch in a pin number for security, similar to that of a debit card.

Well, it appears as if debit cards aren’t interested in having credit cards copy their routine. Today, the QMI Agency reports that the Interac Association is introducing contactless “flash” debit cards. Beginning as early as next summer, these new cards will no longer require a customer to enter a pin number.

Instead, for small purchases (no word yet on how small), customers will be able to simply “flash” or wave the card in front of a supported reader. No more inserting the card into the terminal, no more swiping and no more worrying about people seeing your pin code. For small charges, you can now flash and dash!

As QMI reports, Interac says that Scotiabank and Royal Bank of Canada will be the first banks to offer the new Interac Flash debit cards to consumers in the summer of 2011. They go on to note how much business these new flash cards intend on picking up in retail stores.

Apparently, approximately $90 billion worth of payments made in cash are for purchases that are less than $20. Add that to the fact that Canadians are increasingly using their debit and credit cards to pay for their purchases. Noticing this trend, Interac is seemingly set to cash in…or “flash” in, perhaps?

Said Doug Collins, the head of payments and bank services for RBC Royal Bank: “Canadians have always shown an interest in adopting new payment solutions. Simplifying day-to-day banking through introducing innovative products and services is a key priority for us and we are pleased to be bringing this new option to our clients.”

In addition, the new flash cards are expected to speed up lines at the cashier in such stores that have a high volume of customers, but low sales. Coffee shops and convenience stores are two examples. The flash card certainly sounds like something that will be a welcome addition to shoppers who are constantly on the go.

According to Diane J. Brisebois, the president and chief executive of Retail Council of Canada: “Interac Flash is a welcome and needed addition to the Canadian retail marketplace. Interac Flash is also an economical payment solution, providing a win-win for merchants and their customers across Canada.”

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