By the middle of 2012, consumers will be able to enjoy the convenience of paying for their purchase at more than 20,000 retail points and taxis by using their Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled mobile phones. In a similar note, businesses will be able to provide interactive and targeted contents to consumers through NFC-enabled digital signages located at more than 600 locations throughout Singapore, as part of the Infocomm Development Authority’s (IDA) Next Generation e-Payment Programme.
NFC allows simplified transactions such as data exchange to be done between two devices that are in close proximity to each other. This technology is a widely used system for making electronic payments.
According to IDA, the programme will be made possible through a Call-for-Collaboration (CFC) with industry players to deploy a nationwide interoperable NFC infrastructure. Meanwhile, through an appointed neutral Trusted Third Party (TTP), payment and other service providers will be able to reach all mobile subscribers through the three mobile operators in Singapore.
The CFC has been awarded to a consortium comprising of seven companies namely; Gemalto Pte Ltd, Citibank Singapore Ltd, DBS Bank Ltd, EZ-Link Pte Ltd, M1 Limited, SingTel Mobile Singapore Pte Ltd and StarHub Mobile Pte Ltd. making this collaboration the first interoperable nationwide deployment of NFC mobile payment system in Asia.
In this collaboration, Gemalto will be developing and operating the TTP infrastructure. DBS, EZ-Link and Citibank will enable a wide range of their credit/ debit scheme cards and stored value payment products, to be issued over-the-air through Gemalto, and stored on the secure chips in their customers’ NFC-enabled mobile phones.
These customers will be able to pay for their purchases using any of those payment products at NFC-ready retail points. The services will be launched progressively across all three mobile operators namely M1, Singtel, and Starhub from the middle of next year.
Besides payment services, Gemalto will also be collaborating with service providers to deploy a range of innovative NFC mobile value-added services such as interactive digital signage advertising, mobile coupons and mobile ticketing. This will allow consumers to interact with these digital signage advertisements and download coupons, tickets and product information onto their NFC-enabled mobile phones.
IDA and the consortium of companies will be investing a total of $40 million through the CFC to deploy the TTP infrastructure and more than 10 NFC mobile payment and value-added services by 2014. The services will be rolled out progressively, with at least three NFC mobile payment services made available from mid 2012.
“The TTP infrastructure will enable prospective service providers to reach out to all mobile subscribers in Singapore. Such ubiquitous access will spur the growth and adoption of innovative NFC mobile services,” said Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer of IDA.
In order to enjoy the benefits brought about by the NFC-enabled mobile payment services, the three mobile operators will announce details on how consumers can “NFC-enable” their mobile phones at a later stage of the project.