Saturday, February 13, 2010

Fun With Best Buy's Tap&Go

Last month, I received a letter from Best Buy that I was being pre-selected to try out their Best Buy Reward Zone MasterCard® PayPass™ Tap&Go™ tag. As it was explained to me, it is basically a RFID decal that you could stick on a mobile device that you always carry around like an mp3 player or your phone.

RFID (Radio-frequency identification) card is not a new thing. They've been in use for years in the US in passports, credit cards, and even in some cell phones. There's even a continuing debate on whether they are secure and whether company or governments could use it to invade your privacy, but don't worry. This post is not about me weighing in on those issues. I'll save that kind of stuff for a rainy and boring day.

What has gotten me posting is the fact that this RFID is being presented in the form of a decal. I read somewhere on Wikipedia (so take this with a grain of salt) that Dairy Queen and some company called Vivotech was actually working on RFID decals to give to their customers as part of their new loyalty and rewards program. Basically, Dairy Queen customers could get coupons and discounts if they held the decal over the RFID sensor at their stores. I guess Best Buy and their financial provider, HSBC, just took the decal idea and placed a credit card RFID chip instead.

At the moment, I'm having a lot of fun with the Tap&Go tag which I placed on my cellphone. The look on people's faces and listening to their reactions when I pay by tapping my cellphone on their express pay terminals has been quite fun and revealing. So many places didn't even know that the credit card terminals could handle contact-less payments and I had to explain to them what the "express pay" symbol on their terminals meant. Some new about it, but didn't know that credit card Tap&Go decals existed.

To learn more about Reward Zone MasterCard® PayPass™ Tap&Go™ tag, visit

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