Citi launches NFC trial in India

The financial services giant has partnered with Nokia, Vodafone, MasterCard and Vivotech to launch an NFC field trial in the Indian city of Bangalore.

TAP AND PAY: Citi's Bangalore trial will help it make decisions about a move towards contactless in the US market
TAP AND PAY: Citi's Bangalore trial will help it make decisions about a move towards contactless in the US market

Citi has launched an NFC field trial in Bangalore, the 6.8m population city thought of as India’s Silicon Valley and which is also known locally as Bengaluru. Plans to run a trial in Bangalore were first announced by Citi in February, when it explained that the pilot’s goal would be to provide it with the business case information it needs to renew its push towards contactless payments in its home market.

The Citi Tap and Pay pilot enables Citibank MasterCard Credit cardholders to use NFC phones to make payments at the point-of-sale and to receive promotional offers and discounts at a wide range of department stores, food courts, restaurants and fast food chains, book stores and multiplexes.

For the pilot, Citi has partnered with Vodafone as the mobile network operator, MasterCard to provide its PayPass contactless payment and security infrastructure and Vivotech, which is providing the underlying technology, including the NFC wallet, over-the-air (OTA) card provisioning software, smart posters and the mobile coupon application in addition to the contactless readers that participating merchants will use to accept payments.

To take part in the trial, Citi customers first need to purchase a Nokia 6212 Classic phone, pre-loaded with the Citi Tap and Pay application and enabled with MasterCard’s PayPass contactless payments technology, from one of a number of Nokia stores in the city. They can then download their Citibank MasterCard credit card onto their mobile phone over-the-air. All purchases made using the NFC phone are then automatically charged to the customer’s credit card account.

“Citi believes contactless mobile payment services will be a key lifestyle driver for our highly mobile, international and increasingly urban customer base, ” says Jeff Semenchuk, EVP and head of growth ventures at 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.”

“We hope this pilot will provide a new dimension to making electronic payments and prepare the ground for secure, large-scale, SIM-based sustainable deployment of NFC-enabled payments based on internationally standardised NFC technology, adding more choice and hence more value to our subscribers,”‬ adds Rajesh Dongre from Vodafone Essar, Vodafone’s Indian subsidiary.

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