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Citi began to pilot its Citi Tap and Pay mobile payment system last week in the city of Bengaluru, India, to test the feasibility of next-generation contactless credit card payments based on near field communications (NFC) technology.
The launch is one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive pilots ever undertaken, according to Citi, and is part of its ongoing efforts to harness innovative technologies to provide enhanced convenience, accessibility and mobility for consumers. In addition, Citi has established a fully secure, scalable and interoperable mobile payments ecosystem in Bengaluru in collaboration with Nokia, Vodafone, MasterCard and ViVOtech.
“Citi believes contactless mobile payment services will be a key lifestyle driver for our highly mobile, international and increasingly urban customer base,” said Jeff Semenchuk, EVP and head of Growth Ventures, Citi Innovation. “Exceptional customer value creation needs collaboration, and we will always look to work together with key ecosystem partners in applying smart, everyday, everywhere technology around the globe, while keeping the customer at the forefront of everything we do.”
With the launch of Citi Tap and Pay in India, shoppers in Bengaluru will be able to use their mobile phone as a credit card by tapping it on a contactless reader at the point of sale to pay for purchases, eliminating the need for the traditional swiping of credit cards. The service also does away with the need for customers to send SMS or incur mobile data charges to make these payments.
Nokia will support the service with its NFC-enabled Nokia 6212 classic phones The 3G phone provides consumers with the capability to conduct NFC-based interactions with other such everyday devices and services. Vodafone is the mobile network operator for the pilot service, MasterCard will offer its MasterCard PayPass contactless payment and security infrastructure, and ViVOtech is providing the underlying technology, including the NFC wallet, the Over-the-Air (OTA) card provisioning software, the smart posters, and the mobile coupon application in addition to the contactless readers that participating merchants will use to accept payments.
Through this pilot, Citi will gather user insight across a wide range of parameters, and assess customer acceptance to making contactless transactions through mobile NFC.
Future expansion of the pilot will be determined based on results of the pilot.