Adirondack Trust, a local bank in New York State, has introduced a mobile contactless payments service to its personal and business customers.
The bank is using Bling Nation's mobile sticker-based Community Payments Service, a closed-loop payments system that enables small, local banks to provide a low-cost payments service within their local community.
"Mobile payments are a quick, easy and secure alternative to credit cards, checks and cash for both consumers and businesses," says Charles Wait, chief executive officer of The Adirondack Trust Company. "We are very enthusiastic about the benefits of mobile payments to our community and feel that this is the right time to offer our customers a safer and more convenient way to make and accept payments."
Customers with a checking account at The Adirondack Trust Company are able to sign up for a BlingTag, a contactless sticker that is applied to the back of their mobile phone to enable mobile payments, which businesses and The Adirondack Trust Company treat as debit transactions. Once a BlingTag is adhered to their mobile phone and activated, customers can use their mobile phones to tap and pay for purchases, redeem loyalty incentives and receive transaction and account balance text messages in real-time at the point of sale.
The bank is reporting an enthusiastic response to the service from local merchants, who pay a lower transaction fee for purchases made via Bling than with traditional Visa or MasterCard-branded card transactions.
BlingTags offer a more transparent alternative than credit card companies, says Matt Tallman, co-owner of the Bread Basket Bakery. "If I've got a $1,000 wedding cake and 3 percent of (the price) is going to go to the credit card company, that's a good percentage they're getting just to swipe that card."
For Marianne Barker, owner of Impressions, the key value is that she now receives payments overnight instead of having to wait three to four days with traditional payments systems. The new system also encourages shoppers to come downtown and support local businesses, she says.
"In addition to lower costs and more quickly clearing transactions, each business can have their own loyalty program without punch cards or cumbersome software," Wait explains. "Bling Nation tracks loyalty activities and accrued points, automatically applying them at the point of sale."
Americans' love affair with plastic is ceding to their fascination and constant use of mobile technology," says Charles Herel, Bling Nation's general manager, East region.
In Colorado, the State Bank of La Junta found that 62% of customers had used their phones to make a purchase and 23 merchants had switched their account to the bank in just the first five months after launching with Bling Nation.