Town Launches Prepaid Program with Smart Cards

Brookline, MA announced plans today to increase local economic activity by launching a chip-based, secure smart debit card program. The major goals are to boost local consumer spending by creating a safe, local currency that can be used in shops, restaurants and area parking.

Brookline residents no longer need to worry if they have enough change to park, or be concerned about identity theft. One swipe of the PXT Payments smart debit card at local coffee houses, hardware stores, retailers and other participating merchants will be all they need.

Merchants on board for phase one of the program’s launch include: Athan’s Bakery, Beauty and Style, Pita Pit, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline Wine and Gourmet, Cafe Fixe, The Clay Room, Connelly Hardware, Dorado Tacos & Cemitas, Eureka, The Eye Store, FASTFRAME, J Earley’s Hair Salon, Johnnie’s Fresh Market, The Meat House, Party Favors, Serenade Chocolatier, Tatte Fine Cookies and Cakes, Temptations Cafe, When Pigs Fly Bread, and Zia Clothing and Accessories. Town officials expect this number to increase quickly.

Dana Brigham co-owns and manages the independently owned, Brookline Booksmith, which has been in the community for 50 years. Ms. Brigham was quoted:

“If there’s anything that will bring customers into the store and make them have a good experience we’re all for it. If people can get parking easily, and come in with the same card to shop, I think it will enhance their experience.”

Now through November 7, 2010, consumers can load $50 or more at participating merchants and will receive an additional $5 loaded for free. To purchase the initial card, just click on “buy card” on the website.

Marge Amster, Brookline’s Commercial Areas Coordinator stated:

“We are thrilled to help both local merchants and residents of Brookline stay local for all of their shopping needs. It doesn’t do anyone any good if local citizens are driving out to suburban malls just because it’s easy to park and there are discounts available. We’ve matched that now.”

Brookline has a highly desirable school district, universities, and its share of turnover, which means local merchants, must be competitively creative. Boston, Newton, and Wellesley officials are watching this launch with great interest given their close proximity by examining the effects of parking convenience and local economic development strategy. Other cities such as Portland, ME are in the final budgeting process to adopt a PXT-run smart debit card program.

John Regan, CEO of PXT added:

“We are happy to participate in the synergetic relationship between parking, merchants, consumers, and the economic health of Brookline. The PXT transaction process is secure with end to end encryption, and economically more efficient for the town and merchants than other electronic payment products.”

If multi-jurisdictional authorities coordinate, the PXT smart debit card program can be customized for a single town, city, Business Improvement District (BID), or standardized across a state or even multiple states. The cards are also a safe currency consumers can trust by the use of chips instead of magnetic stripes thus enabling end-to-end encryption, making identity theft impossible. For more information on PXT, visit www.pxtpayments.com.

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