Swiss farmer tests unmanned NFC retail payments system

A Swiss farm shop has installed a self-service NFC system which local shoppers can use to gain access to the shop, to scan RFID price tags and then pay for their purchases.

Farm produce buyers serve themselves with NFC phones in an unmanned shop
SCAN, CHECKOUT, PAY: Farm produce buyers serve themselves with NFC phones in an unmanned shop

Eighty customers of a farm shop in the Zurich region of Switzerland have been equipped with NFC phones that automate the process of shopping for locally produced farm produce.

Unmanned farm shops are common in the region. Traditionally, local shoppers simply let themselves into the shop, work out the price they should pay for the goods they choose and then leave the money in an ‘honesty box’ for the farmer to collect later.

In the new system, the NFC mobile phones become an electronic shopping basket, cash till and access control key. Shoppers can gain access to the farmer’s shop around the clock by opening the door with a touch of their mobile phone. They then simply touch the RFID price tag on each product to store the item and price information in a shopping basket application on the phone. This keeps a running total of how much they owe the farmer and, when their shopping is complete, they touch their phone to a checkout tag in the farm shop to complete the purchase.

The project, known as ‘Touch’n pay’, has been developed by Austrian NFC specialists Nexperts together with a number of partners. Mobile payments developer e24 is providing the backend payments processing solution and the project is also being supported by mobile payments provider Six Multi Solutions. Winter AG is providing the OTA provisioning and personalisation services and Legic provided the contactless access technology with their partner Sea. The Mobile Lab from advertising agency Transformer is providing end-user communications and other partners in the project include Alliera and the University of Applied Sciences, Northwestern Switzerland which will be collecting and analysing the results of the test.

The system will give the partners a deeper insight into how consumers use NFC in payments applications: “The experience gathered from this project will help us to streamline the user interfaces for a mobile wallet,” explains Kurt Schmid, CEO of Nexperts, and e24’s CEO Alexander Schümperli adds “To experience how our products are used is of great interest for us to optimise our services better for the customer needs.”

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