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Citibank, Visa announce NFC trial in Singapore with operator M1

Citi M1 Platinum Visa cardholders will be able to use their mobile phones to make contactless payments linked to their credit card account at any merchant equipped to handle Visa payWave contactless transactions.

THREE MONTH PILOT: Citibank Singapore will test Visa payWave with mobile network operator M1 and 300 credit card holders
THREE MONTH PILOT: Citibank Singapore will test Visa payWave with mobile network operator M1 and 300 credit card holders

Citibank Singapore and Visa have announced the Citi M1 mobile Visa payWave payment pilot, the first programme in Singapore where a mobile phone will double as a credit card.

The Citi Visa pilot, supported by mobile operator M1, will enable cardholders to pay for purchases using a Nokia 6212 Classic handset at more than 750 merchant locations across Singapore. Participating merchants include cafés and restaurants such as The Coffee Connoisseur and Ichiban Boshi, book stores such as Popular and Harris, and retail and music shops such as Gramophone.

Up to 300 Citi M1 Platinum Visa cardholders will be invited to join the three-month pilot, which begins in May. Cardholders will be provided by M1 with a Nokia 6212 Classic handset preloaded with the Visa payWave contactless payment application. They will be able to use the phone to make payments of up to S$100 and purchases will be charged directly to the cardholder’s Visa card account.

Customers will have three security setting options when using their Nokia 6212 Classic:

  • Always — payments can be made without the need for any confirmation or a passcode.
  • By confirmation — a prompt is displayed to the user whenever access for payment is required; the user is required to acknowledge the prompt.
  • With passcode — a four digit code is required before access to payment is given. This option adds an additional step to the payment process. Users who prefer increased security can choose to use this option.

In an interesting twist, cardholders who make eight or more transactions each month will be allowed to keep the handset free of charge at the end of the pilot.

The aim of the pilot is to get feedback and insight into consumers’ mobile payment behaviour and motivations, the companies say. During the pilot, Citibank and M1 will conduct online surveys of participants’ experiences. A post-pilot assessment will also be conducted to consolidate the trends in participants’ mobile payment behaviour and experiences.

At the completion of the trial Citibank, M1 and Visa will evaluate opportunities to further develop mobile payment technology in line with Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore’s vision for interoperable NFC services in Singapore and will share their findings with IDA.

“Citibank has consistently led the industry by introducing innovative products and services that enhance our customers’ banking experiences,” says John Denhof, business director of credit payment products at Citibank Singapore. “This collaboration with Visa and M1 is testimony to our continuous endeavour to acquire new technologies that can provide enhanced convenience, accessibility and mobility for our customers.”

“Mobile payment technology, when paired with a credit card account, has the great potential to change the future of consumer behaviour in how we make payments and transact daily,” he adds. “We believe there are many opportunities for mobile payment services in Singapore, which has one of the highest mobile phone penetration rates in the world. However, we recognise the challenges of commercialisation and scalability in the current environment. Thus, with this pilot, we aim to gain greater insight into what drives mobile payment usage and get feedback on the customer experience.”

“Singaporeans are already familiar with mobile technology and, by providing a new payment channel, Visa is looking to extend the safety and convenience of paying with a Visa card to the mobile phone,” says Meranda Chan, Visa’s country manager for Singapore and Brunei. “This will give Singaporeans greater choice in how they make purchases while on the go. Setting this pilot apart is the fact that the participating merchants cover all the things Singaporeans like to buy — be it the daily coffee, a meal, the latest CD or book or a new pair of shoes, those participating in this trial will be able to wave, pay and go using their mobile phone.”

At M1, chief marketing officer P Subramaniam adds that “With the industry’s commitment to grow mobile payment services, the launch of this pilot could not have come at a better time. We are delighted to mark the tenth year of our partnership with Citibank with this collaboration. By having a better understanding of consumer behaviour through this project, we hope to develop compelling mobile payment services for both the consumers and our business partners.”

“Singapore is the perfect market for such services given the industry’s increasing emphasis on mobile payments, and Singaporeans’ affinity for new technologies,” confirms Jarkko Sevanto, senior manager of NFC business development at Nokia.

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