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18 DECEMBER 2016
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Thursday, 04 August 2016 10:04
Hail to the contactless payment wristband in Rio
Is this really news?
Gemalto and RioCard are celebrating the use of a contactless wristband for transit payments during this year's Olympic Games. Great idea, but hardly new. Contactless transit cards were first adopted by RioCard in Rio de Janeiro in 2003 and they are now a part of daily life for millions of users. So now the contactless payments chip is embedded in a waterproof wristband. Is this so different, and couldn't it have improved on the RioCard with some extra functionality, rather than just replacing it with a different form factor?

Let's think of some options:

Obviously any type of monitor - of steps taken during the day for instance,  - would have increased the cost of a wristband, but this and other functionality could have been included if the contactless payments was included in an Olympics app on a smart phone. If this Olympics smart app had travel news and also important event information, it would be in constant use by attendees who would refer to the programme, site plan and other important information, such as results. Most Olympics attendees have smart phones, so the technology couldn't be the issue.

Gemalto says that "when fully implemented, the wristband solution will simplify secure payments and improve convenience ensuring smoother travel in any mode of transportation (bus, ferry, subway and train) for more than 10 million residents and visitors to Brazil's second largest city. "  But they already have the contactless RioCard. Is a wristband really an improvement?

The technology detail is that Gemalto is supplying RioCard with its waterproof Celego Contactless MiniTag wristband and its Celego Contactless MiniTag Sticker both embedded with a contactless chip from Gemalto and certified by Visa and MasterCard enabling all the secure functionalities of traditional contactless EMV cards.
It could have been so much more exciting.

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