Indigo recently announced that they have installed MasterCard PayPass point-of-sale terminals in all their store locations. Customers who frequent bookstores owned by the company -- Chapters, the World's Biggest Bookstore, Coles, Indigo, IndigoSpirit, SmithBooks, and the Book Company -- will now be able to hold compatible cards or phones close to the unit to make quick and easy payments through the contactless technology.
"Our goal is to enrich the lives of our customers through the service we offer and our unparalleled assortment of books, toys, gifts and lifestyle products," says Kay Brekken, CFO at Indigo Books & Music Inc. "This new partnership with MasterCard will allow our customers to enjoy greater convenience when making their in-store purchases."
Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology is already popular in countries like Japan, where customers use compatible devices to ride transit or pay for products in stores, but the technology has yet to hit the mainstream in North America.
Part of the reason why NFC technology hasn't taken off in the US or Canada is a lack of accessibility, but this is starting to change. Along with Indigo's announcement, Starbucks and McDonalds recently announced that they've installed contactless payment terminals in many of their stores worldwide.
Blackberry has already announced their commitment to including NFC technology in many of their phones for 2011. According to RIM CEO Jim Balsillie at his Mobile World Congress keynote, “many, if not most” BlackBerry handsets in 2011 will have NFC support.
There is also speculation from Bloomberg that the next iPhone and iPad will contain NFC chips. This step in accessibility could give the technology the necessary push it needs for widespread use in North America.
The development is in line with trends that show more people are using their phones for their daily money transactions. Despite the slow growth in the popularity of mobile banking, it is now becoming widespread:
Nearly 30 million Americans — or 1 in 10 — accessed financial services accounts (bank, credit card, or brokerage) via their mobile device in Q4 2010, an increase of 54% in 12 months, an increase of more than 10 million.