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NEW YORK -- MasterCard and Blaze Mobile are unveiling high-tech stickers using radio frequency technology to communicate with point-of-sale (POS) terminals at BP, Best Buy, CVS, McDonald's and other stores, according to a report in USA Today. The stickers will be issued by MetaBank, and will work on most phones.
The technology is a bridge before contactless payment technology is built into handsets, which is perhaps two years away, the newspaper reported.
"It's a big deal in the evolution of mobile payments," said Bruce Cundiff, director of payments research and consulting at Javelin Strategy & Research. "It's not necessarily a big deal in that, oh, by April everybody is going to walk around with stickers on the phone and paying for transactions through prepaid MasterCards."
However, while MasterCard said more than 141,000 merchants can take advantage of transactions through its PayPass service, that is still a relatively small number, and retailers have to upgrade infrastructure.
"The overriding issue remains merchant acceptance," Cundiff said in the report.
Consumers with stickers will be able to check prepaid balances from phones in real time.
Paying by cellphone also got a potential boost last week, when Nokia invested an undisclosed sum in Obopay, a mobile payments company, the report stated.