Bling Nation has temporarily shut down its mobile payments service in order to roll out a new product later this year, reports American Banker.
Since 2009, the Palo Alto-based company has been providing its NFC sticker in areas deemed “underserved” by major card companies. By affixing the NFC stickers to their mobile phones, customers could conduct contactless payments at local merchants through their community bank.
At its peak the service was used by nearly 20 banks, with about 1,000 merchants nationwide on board, says American Banker. But things went downhill once Bling Nation began requiring banks and merchants on its payments network to join its FanConnect loyalty program, which allows customers to post Facebook updates about Bling Nation purchases to redeem coupons.
La Junta, Colo.-based State Bank, Bling Nation’s first bank partner, stopped issuing the stickers in March, and by the time Bling Nation made FanConnect optional, many other merchants had followed suit.
Other factors possibly contributing to the system’s failure include a lack of merchant and consumer adoption and an increasingly competitive market moving toward embedded NFC technology over add-ons like stickers. Another problem may have been a perceived shift from a “hyperlocal” strategy thanks to BN’s partnership PayPal to launch FanConnect, says American Banker. The company asserts that funding was never an issue.
Bling Nation would not reveal specific details about its new product, but the company says it will aim to deliver something beyond a simple payments service.
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