Discover recommits to contactless payments

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Discover Financial Services has promised to issue all new and replacement cards in the contactless format.

The move comes a decade after Discover’s premature attempt to push contactless payments with its proprietary Zip-branded NFC-enabled cards and stickers, which the company tested with employees in 2009, rolling out to consumers in 2010.

That effort fizzled because U.S. issuers were not ready to upgrade payment terminals to accept NFC payments, and Discover wasn't the only issuer that got burned. JPMorgan Chase had its own NFC payment concept called Blink, which dated all the way back to 2005, discontinued only in 2014. Bank of America also tried briefly to jump into contactless payments through NFC-enabled stickers a decade ago.

This time around, Discover waited until most other large issuers disclosed their contactless card plans. A year ago Chase announced it would go contactless beginning in the summer of 2019, followed in turn by Wells Fargo and American Express with similar strategies. BofA took a different tack, broadly issuing contactless cards in July in New York, Boston and San Francisco, targeting mass-transit users.

Discover's strategy calls for issuing new and replacement Discover it and Discover More cards in the contactless format beginning this month, and next month other Discover cards will follow suit, the Riverwoods, Ill.-based company said in a Monday press release.

“Contactless technology has become increasingly popular with our cardmembers and more accepted by merchants worldwide, and we want to deliver the best shopping experience to our cardmembers,” said Szabolcs Paldy, Discover’s senior vice president of marketing, in the release.

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