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Where art begins, NFC will follow on the Parisian Metro

  • By Timothy Roberts
  • Tuesday, March 13, 2012

There’s a lot of effort being made to get people to pick up and use mobile money systems.
No matter if they are peripherals for your smartphones, using NFC and QR codes to link a handset to an account, or reimagining the loyalty card, there is always a bit of carrot involved, from a refund on the cost of the equipment to buy two get one free voucher offers to stimulate spending.

But if you move up your hierarchy of needs, after the basic physiological needs are fulfilled by the above trigger, there is something more artistic that can help push your technologically adept payment methods. And the is art.

Perhaps the Paris Metro has the right idea. They’re introducing a new transit card, the Passe Navigo, designed by Philippe Starck that simply screams “I’m French and I am beautiful”. For example, it’s designed to be read in the portrait orientation to give it more “energy”. And in effect it’s a great big NFC card.

Which means not only does it look smart and stylish (helping adoption by the users) but it paves the way to bringing NFC enabled smartphones into the system with no disruption at the ticket barriers, point of sale, or third party agents dotted around Paris. Just switch on the app for the NFC in the smartphone to match the card, and you’ve got yourself a mobile payments system that works both old school with your artistic cards, and new frontier with a smartphone.

Style and substance. That’s smart.