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Carrefour announces major move toward contactless — and NFC

The world’s second largest retailer, part of the French Ergosum consortium aiming to launch a large scale NFC project by the end of this year, will begin converting its own brand credit/loyalty cards to contactless next month…

RETAIL GIANT: The world's second largest retailer will start to issue contactless credit/loyalty cards next month

RETAIL GIANT: The world's second largest retailer will start to issue contactless credit/loyalty cards next month

Carrefour, the French retailing giant that is second only to Wal-Mart in the world’s leading retailer stakes, has taken a significant step forward in the march towards the introduction of NFC in France.

From February 11, it will begin issuing a contactless MasterCard version of its own brand credit/loyalty card, known as ‘Pass‘. At the same time it has also signed a deal to install between 1,000 and 1,500 self-checkout machines from Wincor Nixdorf, who this month also launched the world’s first SEPA payments compliant checkout solution, incorporating the ability to handle a wide range of advanced payments technologies including NFC.

Later this year, Carrefour is due to take part in a large-scale NFC test with other French retailers including Auchan, Castorama and Fnac who have all signed up to join the Ergosum consortium aiming to manage the introduction of near field communication technology at the point-of-sale.

“We believe the Pass MasterCard card, an innovative card with improved consumer benefits, will help not only to build customer loyalty, but also attract and retain new cardholders to our network,” says Gauthier Durand Delbecque, general manager of financial services at Carrefour Group.

“Customisation of services, flexibility in use, and the very latest in card technology including the MasterCard PayPass ‘Tap & Go’ contactless functionality has been combined into this new card programme designed specifically for the Carrefour consumer,” the company says. Features include:

  • A card at the cutting-edge of technology enabling cardholders choice in how they pay for their purchases; either immediately from their bank account or by credit thanks to the card’s joint debit/credit functionality. As well as enabling the cardholder to choose their individual PIN number, the card is also one of the first in France to offer the MasterCard PayPass technology. As of 3Q2008, already available on nearly 44 million cards and devices across the world and as a safe, speedier and easier way to pay, cardholders simply Tap & Go for purchases up to 25 Euros.
  • A customizable card which extends guarantees up to five years for electrical-product purchases such as televisions and washing machines with an additional benefit of an enhanced insurance package designed by the cardholder via an exclusive webportal provided for and operated by MasterCard.
  • A loyalty card which enhances the existing Carrefour and Pass advantages such as the doubling of some discount benefits for cardholders making at least one monthly purchase in a non-Carrefour group merchant.

“Throughout the development of this programme we’ve tried to rise to the very specific retail challenges of Carrefour and refine for their customers in France the best technologies and services available,” says Emmanuel Petit, president and general manager of Mastercard France.

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