Gift and loyalty cards go contactless
Two companies have now announced contactless card or keyfob-based gift and loyalty solutions, highlighting two growing trends: that toward RFID-based technology and the increasing popularity of gift cards.
Both Smart Transaction Systems (STS) and ViVOtech have entered the arena of contactless gift and loyalty systems. The move toward the contactless transaction is more important than it may at first seem: not only is it more convenient and novel for the customer, but it's also quick. In fact, when used in combination with high-speed broadband transaction processing technology, contactless transactions can be faster than any other type of transaction, including cash. This makes the use of loyalty programmes and gift cards much more feasible in low-ticket fast-turnover businesses such as fast-food outlets and sports venues.
Ideal solution STS says that its gift and loyalty programmes are now compatible with the latest technology in smart cards. The new "contactless" smart cards, key tags, and "smart stickers" need only be passed in front of the card reader to complete the transaction. The stored-value or loyalty card does not even need to be handed over to the clerk.
According to Ray Clopton, president of STS: "This is an ideal solution for any organisation that wants to give their customers a very fast and convenient way to complete multiple types of stored-value card transaction, including gift and loyalty programmes. We're seeing a great deal of interest from organisations ranging from coffee shops to sporting venues and food service companies that run corporate and college cafeterias."
The new offering is compatible with the STS system that is already being used by thousands of merchants. The cards can access both a cash value and a loyalty/reward point balance at the same time. STS has built contactless smart card capability into all of the core products and services that it offers. This includes VeriFone and Hypercom credit card terminals, as well as several PC-based and integrated POS solutions supported by STS. The company has taken an open-systems approach, and supports contactless readers from multiple manufacturers. STS customers may choose between the new contactless cards or traditional magnetic-strip cards. The two options are interchangeable within the STS system.
Turnkey system ViVOtech is offering a turnkey "Contactless Gift and Loyalty solution in Box" for Independent Sales Organisations (ISOs) and Acquirers. The components include a self-branded ViVOfob in various form-factors, the ViVOpay reader which enables existing legacy systems to accept contactless card payments and access to the ViVOplatform software package which delivers integrated loyalty and prepaid functionality.
ISOs can easily set-up loyalty, prepaid programmes for merchants using the ViVOplatform, and administer them with minimum effort. The built in automation system will take care of awarding points, redemption, etc. The complete offering is designed to work with legacy systems.