More Speed at Checkout Counter: Wells Fargo Announces Contactless Card Rollout
San Francisco — June 14, 2006
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) announced plans to begin distributing Wells Fargo® Visa Platinum Credit Card and Wells Fargo Visa® Signature Credit Card with Visa Contactless to customers in the second half of 2006. “At Wells Fargo, we pride ourselves as being at the forefront of technology solutions that help our customers securely conduct their financial transactions when, where and how they want,” said Peter Ho, Wells Fargo Card Services vice president and product manager. “We believe our customers will benefit from the speed and convenience offered by this exciting technology.” Cardholders simply hold their cards near a secure reader at checkout instead of swiping them or handing them to a cashier. Cardholders will not be required to provide a signature for most purchases under $25, and contactless merchants will not have to provide a receipt for purchases under $25 to cardholders (unless requested by the cardholder). Contactless cards are ideal for use at participating convenience stores, fast food restaurants, movie theaters and gas stations. Customers also will be able to continue to use their cards in the traditional way at more than 24 million Visa acceptance locations worldwide. Visa Contactless also offers merchants a wide range of benefits, including the ability to streamline store operations allowing employees to focus on customer service and fulfilling orders instead of handling cash. Contactless also increases checkout transaction speeds for merchants and customers. "Because transactions are faster and more convenient for consumers and merchants, Visa Contactless technology has enjoyed one of the fastest adoptions rates of a new payment technology," said Brian Triplett, senior vice president of emerging product development at Visa. "Around the world, almost 4.5 million Visa cards are equipped with the contactless feature and more than 30,000 merchant locations in the U.S. accept contactless payments. We are excited to have Wells Fargo join us in bringing contactless to its extensive customer base." The new card will offer built-in security with the WellsProtect® program. With this program, cardholders are protected against any unauthorized transactions, when reported promptly, made at merchants, over the phone, on the Internet or at the ATM. Wells Fargo, with Visa, protects cardholders from fraud with no liability to the customer. Wells Fargo ATM, ATM & Check Card and Credit Cards are all covered by the WellsProtect program. Visa Contactless is enabled by radio frequency (RF) technology. The Visa Contactless RF payment chip uses industrial strength encryption technology – 128-bit and triple DES encryption – the highest level encryption allowed by the federal government. The chip contains the same minimal personal information found on a traditional magnetic stripe card – just the account number and cardholder’s name. The transfer of payment information from card to reader occurs only at one to two inches. Visa Contactless dynamically generates a unique numeric code with each contactless transaction, similar to a watermark that’s difficult to forge. All other aspects of a contactless transaction are handled just as any other Visa transaction, and benefit from the reliability, and sophisticated fraud mentoring tools of VisaNet, the global Visa payment processing network. The new Visa Contactless cards will be personalized by First Data as part of comprehensive processing services provided to Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $492 billion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance to more than 23 million customers from more than 6,200 stores and the internet (wellsfargo.com) across North America and elsewhere internationally. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. is the only bank in the United States to receive the highest possible credit rating, “Aaa,” from Moody’s Investors Service.