Citi joins mobile and credit card partners to launch India’s first contactless payment solution

30th June 2009
Citi  joins  mobile  and  credit card partners to launch India’s first  contactless  payment solution

Bangalore June 30: Near Field Communications met the mobile phone to create a contactless credit card payment solution today.   Global financial services leader Citi, has chosen Bangalore to launch a   full feature mobile payments solution where the credit card has  merged into a hand phone. 
The pilot scheme which is expected to involve some 500 plus local traders,  5000 users, equipped with Nokia’s NFC enabled 6212 phone , fuelled by mobile services from Vodafone, and by MasterCard’s PayPass contactless payment solution will run for around 3 months, by which time the four partners – and NFC technology provider ViVOtech -- will get a feel for how contactless  mobile payment works in an Indian environment. This will help them ramp up the solution, country wide, explained Jeff Semenchuk, Citi’s Head of Growth Ventures team and N Rajasekharan, Citi ‘s Country  Business Manager, India, for the global consumer group, in a joint media presentation, Tuesday.
The scenario works like this:
The point of sale is equipped with MasterCard’s PayPass NFC reader. The customer who wants to make a credit card transaction using his Citibank card / MasterCard account, taps the reader lightly with his NFC-enabled mobile phone. This completes the transaction. Since no swiping is required there is no danger of cards being illegally copied at POS.  
The partners who are jointly financing the pilot are also enabling customers to acquire the Nokia 6212 for Rs 5000 against a normal selling price of Rs 11639   and then downloading the Citibank credit card to the handset. Retailers who have joined the ecosystem in Bangalore include chains like Nilgiris, Shoppers Stop, Landmark, Subway and others.
Near Field Communication or NFC, is a short-range high frequency wireless communication technology which enables the exchange of data between devices over about a 10 centimetre (around 4 inches) distance. The technology is a simple extension of the proximity-card standard (contactless card, RFID) that combines the interface of a smartcard and a reader into a single device. An NFC device can communicate with both existing smartcards and readers, as well as with other NFC devices, and is thereby compatible with existing contactless infrastructure already in use for public transportation and payment. NFC is primarily aimed at usage in mobile phones ( from Wikipedia).