ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (3/5/08)--PSCU Financial Services announced Tuesday it has launched the Contactless cards program for credit and debit platforms. The credit union service organization's (CUSO) member owners can begin ordering new cards immediately from Visa and MasterCard. PSCU Financial says it is the first CUSO to launch the cards. The initial market for them is small transactions at time-sensitive locations such as fast food outlets, convenience stores, gas stations and movie theatres. The card activates within two to four inches of the terminal. The consumer doesn't have to position the card so the magnetic stripe can be read. A computer chip in the card securely communicates the information, using CVV, said PSCU Financial Services. MasterCard Paypass preliminary research data indicate an average 30% increase in purchases and 19% increase in transaction volumes, with 17% growth in activation rates at pilot sites where Contactless cards were offered to inactive cardholders. Several credit unions were pilot sites for the program. Insurance costs are higher than traditional cards because of the embedded chip, but that expense is offset by increased usage and higher interchange fees, said PSCU Financial. Contactless transactions are processed as signature accounts, although no signatures or receipts are required for transactions under $25.