Austin vs Salt Lake City in Gemalto Contactless Challenge

Josh Kerr wearing his game face

Game face on

Gemalto a multi-billion dollar company that you’ve likely never heard of is sponsoring a wireless payment challenge pitting me and my city of Austin vs Kathy and her city of Salt Lake City. Both Austin and SLC are piloting a new NFC payment technology from ISIS which uses a mobile wallet on your phone to wirelessly pay for things at participating retail stores. The challenge will award points to Kathy and I as we use our phones to pay for things.

Kathy wearing her game face

My competition: Kathy from Salt Lake City

The challenge is called “Contactless” because your phone is able to make payments via the NFC wireless protocol. I think this means that I can hold my phone near a supporting credit card reader and it will pay for things just like swiping my credit card. An app called the Isis Mobile Wallet holds my credit cards, gift cards and other funding sources and transforms my phone into a glorified wireless credit card.

Gemalto invited me to participate in the challenge encouraging me to share my experiences whether good or bad. They are looking for authentic feedback and in return they will make a donation to a charity of my choice. (This week its save the tigers.) They will fill up my phone with $250 and I will be buying food, getting haircuts, sending flowers and much more which I will be sharing through Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Facebook and my blog.

Gemalto provided me with a brand new Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone which I’m actually digging. I’m an iPhone 5 owner with a strong affinity (or loyalty) for Apple’s products, I even co-founded and sold a company based on their technology. Android in my eyes has always seemed less polished and lacking design flare. This Galaxy S4 is making me rethink how I feel about Android. This phone is super slick, fast and polished.

My Galaxy S4 with Verizon Isis Wallet

My new Samsung Galaxy S4 with Verizon Isis Wallet

I’m going into the challenge with low expectations for the technology. Contactless payment isn’t an easy thing to do requiring participation from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Chase, American Express all working together on a very complex stack. Getting a telco like Verizon to do something cutting edge is like trying to get a rattle snake to use a hula hoop. Who knows, maybe it all works and I ditch my wallet for it. Either way, I’m going to take down Kathy and her Salt Lake City by outspending her with my mobile wallet.

Hey Kathy, hear that? Its the ka-ching sound you’ll be hearing from my smartphone as I wirelessly outspend ya.

Unwrapping my new ISIS enabled phone for the Gemalto contac: via @YouTube

— Kathy Dalton (@AdventureMomTV) June 6, 2013

Stay tuned RT @Gemalto: How ready is the US for contactless payments? Our Contactless Challenge returns #GemaltoNFC

— Gemalto_NA (@Gemalto_NA) June 6, 2013

By joshkerr

Josh is an 8x startup founder and angel investor.

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