Maverik Launching Smartphone Payments

Maverik convenience stores is one of 30 merchants that plans to use the NFC payment system this summer.

This summer, customers in Salt Lake City, Utah and Austin, Texas will be able to buy products at convenience stores with a wave of their smartphones instead of handing over cash or a credit card to a store employee.

Isis, a joint venture with AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, several banks and mobile handset manufacturers, launched its “mobile wallet” technology, called near-field communications (NFC). It uses radio frequency chips embedded in smartphones to sell products.

“(Customers) want to take away the chaos of their lives,”  Susan Novell of Isis told Seacoast news of New Hampshire, pointing to her phone. “It’s all in one little environment.”

Thirty merchants in Salt Lake City plan to debut the NFC system, including Maverik c-stores, Deseret Book and Barbacoa Mexican Grill. Six national merchants also signed on: Aeropostale, Coca-Cola Co. (for vending machines), Champs, Dillard’s, Foot Locker and Macy’s.

Currently the system only works with Android phones and iPhones, although the iPhone will require an add-on case with the chip installed because Apple’s devices do not have NFC chips. Novell said only two or three Android models have the chips built in. RIM’s Blackberry phones will be compatible with the system later.

The system also has the ability to remember coupons or other deals that the customer has input that can be automatically used with the purchase.

Maverik executive Ernie Harker said the process is simple and fast. A customer launches the app in the phone, chooses which store they’re shopping at, inputs a security code into the phone and then waves the device in front of a terminal on the counter after items have been scanned. Money is automatically deducted from customers’ credit or debit cards.

“There is so much to the technology down the road,” Harker said.

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