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Pay on the Go: Consumers and Contactless Payment

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The Federal Trade Commission held a workshop titled Pay on the Go: Consumers and Contactless Payment on July 24, 2008. The workshop explored the growth of contactless payment systems and their implications for consumer protection policy. This workshop followed up on the FTC's November 2006 hearings, "Protecting Consumers in the Next Tech-ade," which examined key technological and business developments that will shape consumers' experiences over the next decade.

This meeting brought together industry members, technologists, academicians, consumer protection officials, and consumer advocates to explore the current state-of-the-art for contactless payment systems, which use radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to allow consumers to make low dollar-value purchases by holding an RFID-enabled device (such as a smart card, key fob, or mobile device) in proximity to a reader. The event explored the extent to which contactless payment is being deployed domestically and around the world, along with potential benefits and risks to consumers of its use.

Participants examined the increasing prevalence of contactless payment devices in everyday consumer transactions, including credit card purchases and public transit use; consumer awareness and education initiatives regarding these developments; security and privacy threats and proposed solutions; and emerging technologies and practices that may shape the contactless payment marketplace over the coming years.

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