TazTag, a France-based contactless-product maker, will include a Near Field Communication chip inside its TazCard, a 3.5-inch wide touchscreen card, according to Inside Contactless, a France-based contactless-chip maker.

Inside has tested a “proof of concept” of the card, which contains one of its chips, the company says.

“We believe this device will enable card issuers to provide their customers with a viable NFC bridge–a key success factor toward market adoption of mobile NFC payments,” Jean-Christophe Tisseuil, head of marketing and business development, telecommunications product line, at Sagem Orga, a Germany-based partner in the project, notes in a statement. The TazCard will use a Sagem Orga subscriber identity module chip connected to an Inside NFC controller.

TazTag expects to begin full production of the TazCard later this year, Eric Fouchard, TazTag CEO, tells PaymentsSource. “Our business model is business to business, to create a developer community,” Fouchard says. TazTag provides the common applications for the devices so users may use the card in payments, access control or transit, he says.

The TazCard can exchange data with an NFC-enabled mobile phone or payment terminal, says Fouchard. TazCard also may exchange data via a universal serial bus—a common computer connection port—and Zigbee, a wireless-connectivity protocol. All three methods are low power, designed to extend TazCard battery life. Cardholders also would use the USB connection to recharge the TazCard battery.

Though the TazCard is about as thick as a credit card, it does not contain a magnetic stripe or a contact chip. Fouchard envisions several business purposes for TazCard. For example, at a shoe store a salesperson could use the card to check inventory while staying with the customer. Upon a successful sale, the retailer could tap the customer’s NFC loyalty card against the TazCard to collect reward points or other information.

Each TazCard will cost between $150 and $200, but Fouchard expects the price to decrease after the first year as sales pick up. Because of the cost, banks likely would issue the card only to VIP customers, Fouchard says. 

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