Google goes for loyalty, not payments at the check-out

Ingenico CEO Philippe Lazare told AFP news agency that the kit will be used by Google during a series of live trials at selected retailers in New York and San Francisco.

Earlier reports had assumed that the search engine giant was interested in expanding its remit to bricks and mortar payments. But Ingenico says the trials will instead focus on the willingness of consumers to redeem retailer tokens at the till.

Customers signing up for the service would tap their phone at the check-out to redeem their tokens and reduce their shopping bill. Payments will be handled in the usual fashion.

Oracle last month released research implying that the use of NFC at the check-out for multiple read and write applications to a mobile phone may be too time-consuming, negating the supposed fast-transaction benefits of contactless technology.

Separately, NFC application developer Merchant360 has secured a deal with terminal manufacturer VeriFone to run its new NFC Stack, which is capable of hosting multiple access points for third party mobile and contactless schemes on the same eftpos machine. VeriFone says the technology will enable it to equip check-outs with a one-size fits all device offering ease of integration for emerging mobile payment and loyalty schemes from innovative start-ups such as Bling Nation and MoneyCell.

With NFC standards still being defined, M360 says the Stack allows for remote updating of the device when new applications and formats are released. The company says it is in talks with other hardware manufacturers about licensing deals.

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