The State Bank in Colorado has become the first bank to sign up for Bling Nation's mobile contactless sticker-based local payments system.
As NFCW first reported in November 2008, the Bling Nation Community Payments Service is aimed at small, local banks and offers them a way to provide a low-cost closed-loop payments system within their local community.
The State Bank is marketing its new local payments network and accompanying rewards programs under the name Redi Pay Bling and is pitching it as an alternative to expensive, traditional payments networks.
"The State Bank operates in a competitive market," says Brad Rose, vice president of information technology and security for the bank. "In a community of 8,000, there are five banks, including one national branch, and two credit unions. As a result, it is important for us to distinguish ourselves by offering our customers lower costs and increased security and convenience in making and accepting payments, while also driving local commerce."
And, so far, the new service is certainly proving popular. The State Bank, which has 5,000 consumer customers, has signed more business accounts since the service launched on 21 May than in the whole of the past two years, says Rose. "The merchants we have enrolled in Redi Pay Bling represent 80% of our target in the initial roll-out. Through word of mouth over less than a month, five percent of our customers have activated their BlingTags, and we have planned targeted direct marketing and other marketing initiatives to drastically increase that number."
"For consumers committed to shopping local, they are still using the equivalent of a big box retailer to process their transaction if the merchant is not participating in a local payment network," explains Meyer Malka, co-CEO of Bling Nation. "The Community Payments Service keeps money in the La Junta community, while providing consumers with a convenient and secure way to pay for purchases. Eliminating several middle-men in the transaction process enables The State Bank to focus its resources on enhancing its relationship with local merchants and providing its customers with superior service."