As many as 100,000 contactless key fobs could be in use this year in a new transit scheme launched in Rio de Janiero, according to Inside Contactless, a France-based contactless-technology firm.

Rio de Janiero’s transit system and several other locations, including the lift for popular tourist destination Sugarloaf Mountain, a theater, Supervia train stations, McDonald’s restaurants and parking lots in the city, accept the MasterCard-branded PayPass fobs. Venezuela-based Credicard began issuing the fobs in November.

Consumers may wave the device in front of a PayPass-enabled terminal for transactions valued at less than $25 (45 reals).

Credicard administers credit cards on behalf of several issuers in Brazil, including Citigroup Inc. Redecard, a Brazil-based merchant acquirer, intends to add more merchant locations, Inside says.

The fobs, made by Germany-based Giesecke & Devrient GmbH, use the MicroPass 4003 chip, which Inside introduced in 2005.

Credicard has issued approximately 35,000 key fobs thus far, but Inside expects the total to swell to about 100,000 through this year.

In November, MasterCard said the Rio de Janiero project represented the first in Latin America to use contactless-payment devices for public transit.

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