July 6, 2011, 4:35 PM

Discover’s CEO is bullish on NFC

The payment card company has issued more than 500,000 cards featuring a contactless chip.

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Near field communication, or NFC will gain traction as more cards and stickers featuring contactless chips are issued, said David Nelms, Discover Financial Services CEO, recently during a conference call with analysts.

As evidence of Discover’s NFC push, Nelms noted that Discover has issued more than 500,000 cards with its Zip contactless chip. The company began rolling out those cards, as well as contactless stickers that consumers could place on their mobile phones, last year.

“Importantly, we continue to expand mobile-enabled terminal deployment throughout the country and our Zip has very broad representation in terms of acceptance on terminals,” he said.Nelms also said believes that he believes more consumers will soon begin making mobile payments.  

“I remain bullish on the potential for mobile payments and we continue to be very active not only with Isis but also with many other efforts throughout the industry,” he said. Isis is a startup mobile payment system created by a joint venture between AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless. Isis, which will use NFC technology, aims to offer contactless payments at merchant locations starting next year. Initially Discover was going to be Isis’s payment-network provider. However, Isis recently announced it would open up its system to other networks and issuers.

Nelms said that it will be difficult to determine winners and losers in mobile payments. “But I am convinced that it will gradually gain traction and be important for us and our customers,” he said.

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