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Rfinity expands BYU-Idaho University NFC pilot to local stores and shoppers

Rfinity has signed a deal with Citizens Community Bank that sees its NFC payment trial at Brigham Young University’s Idaho campus expanded to include both non-University students and off-campus merchants.

The trial at BYU-Idaho began in September 2009. It was an instant hit with students who used their mobile phones to pay for everything from candy bars to $1,600 laptops and 1,000 students and staff at the university are now using Rfinity’s technology.

Rfinity’s technology works by attaching a unique, one-time-use encrypted code to each transaction, activated by the user entering a personal authorization code. This protects personal information from being intercepted or used for payment in case of theft or losing one’s phone, making payment more convenient and secure than credit or debit cards.

The technology is compatible with NFC and, to begin with, the company was using microSD cards as the host for its solution. With the expansion to the local town, Rfinity has also added NFC adhesive labels that either go on the phone or inside the phone’s battery cover, enabling the company to also support phones that do not have a microSD slot, such as the iPhone.

Rfinity has also now integrated its POS software into terminals supplied by both VeriFone and Vivotech. “This makes it very easy for us to deploy to new merchants whose cash registers already support the necessary communication interfaces to the reader,” Steve McCown, Rfinity’s interim CEO, has told NFC World.

“Whereas the previous phase of our university pilot was geared towards proving and refining the technology, this phase is geared towards simplifying user acquisition, enabling both on and off campus purchases, and allowing users to select from multiple payment accounts using a single NFC device,” McCown explains. “To facilitate this, we have changed the way that new users enroll in RFinity. With our current system, users can enrol right at the point of sale using a ~20 second sign-up process. Phased in during the pilot, we will also be enabling new users to subscribe on the website and then pick up an NFC sticker at the POS.”

“Perhaps, the most interesting addition to our product offering is our creation of a (patent-pending) person-to-person payment method that does not require any new hardware to be added to the cell phone,” he added. “Think of it like PayPal’s Bump … but applicable to nearly all cell phones.”

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