Tempo, a leading provider of decoupled debit programs, jumps into the innovation stream by announcing their pilot for an NFC-based contactless payment form.
At any other time in the market, this news might have been larger since their argument that a decoupled debit program flattens the implementation curve by not requiring widespread financial institution adoption, but timing is everything.
The pilot initially will involve stickers participants would place on their mobile devices, but the network eventually plans to tie the contactless application to microSD and ultimately to Near Field Communication chips embedded in phones, says Mike Grossman, Tempo CEO.
“The core notion we have is a vision of utilizing mobile handsets for point-of-sale (debit) payments,” regardless of which bank holds the funds, Grossman says. “We’re in a unique position because we operate an open-loop decoupled debit network.”
Yes, we mean that this announcement took place two days before the Fed made an announcement of their own – slashing debit card fees by over 75% for many issuers.
Decoupled debit cards are mentioned in the draft rules as a form of debit that may – or may not – be included in the EFTA definition of a debit card.
And three party networks, like Discover, are also up for consideration as a controlled payment network.
All this uncertainty might make investments in decoupled debit, or many other alternative debit programs, questionable for the near term.