This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
This summer Salt Lake City area residents and merchants will be asked to take part in a pilot program aimed at getting them to use their mobile phones to pay for many of the things they buy in an initiative that will then be rolled out nationwide.
The pilot effort, which also includes Austin, Texas, is part of a major push by the credit card and online payment industry to get U.S. consumers and businesses to adopt mobile phone payments, as well as to use so-called smart cards, which are credit cards that transmit payment information through an embedded chip.
Participants at the Smart Card Alliance conference in downtown Salt Lake City said Wednesday they expect to see adoption of smart cards accelerate as they find increasing acceptance among consumers and as more businesses buy terminals to process the new payment technologies.
"This summer in Salt Lake City and in Austin we will be launching kind of a full frontal attack across carriers, banks and merchants [that will be] a conversion opportunity for consumers to actually experience this new world we've all talked about, to pull that future forward in those two cities," said Jim Stapleton, chief sales officer for Isis, a joint effort by AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless to promote mobile phone payments.
The pilot program, whose start date hasn't been set, will run for a six to 12 month period before a nationwide rollout begins, said Stapleton.
Area residents likely will hear from banks and mobile phone carriers soon about a system that will allow them to make payments by tapping their "mobile wallets" on a merchant terminal, he said.
"We're also adding the ability to load your loyalty cards that are clogging up your wallets" Stapleton said. "And we're also [loading special] offers."
Credit card companies are promoting adoption of smart cards, which already are widely used in Europe. The Salt Lake City conference brought together industry players from around the nation to talk about the efforts.
Common standards have been adopted that are known as EMV, for Europay MasterCard Visa, that ensure smart cards can interact with terminals. The card companies are encouraging merchants to buy new terminals to accept smart cards.
For example, Visa said it will eliminate the requirement for merchants to do annual verifications of their compliance with security standards if 75 percent of their transactions involve terminals that accept chips. But it also said it will shift some liabilities for counterfeit cards away from itself if the new technologies are not adopted.
Smart cards can use one-time authentication codes that help ensure they can't be used fraudulently.
"The more we can leverage dynamic data the more we can take those merchants out of harms way and, hopefully, simplify the security process," said Jennifer Fischer, of Visa.