Avea and Garanti Bank launch commercial NFC service in Turkey

Turkish consumers can now buy an NFC add-on that comes with a built-in prepaid card account which they can use to make payments in stores and on public transport and to receive digital coupons.

Garanti and Avea
TURKEY: Garanti and Avea offer customers SIM+antenna NFC for US$13

Turkish mobile network operator Avea and Garanti Bank have now commercially launched the NFC service they have been testing since May 2010.

The Gemalto N-Flex SIM+antenna solution used by the companies is now available to purchase at all of Avea’s stores in ten Turkish cities and comes with a prepaid MasterCard PayPass card account provided by Garanti Bank. The add ons cost 20 Turkish Lira (US$13.35) and come with 25 TL of value stored in the account — effectively giving customers 5 TL of free money in exchange for taking up the new service.

As well as a prepaid account, the devices can also be used to charge purchases to a credit card account. Once they have received their add on, customers are contacted by Garanti Bank. Existing customers of the bank are then offered the option of having their credit card account loaded onto the device over-the-air. Other consumers are offered the option of opening a new credit card account which they will then be able to have added to their device.

The add-ons are supplied and owned by Avea but customers who sign up for the service automatically become customers of both Avea and Garanti Bank. Garanti is responsible for providing both the payments account and for processing transactions and the two companies have also worked out a way to share revenues received from the provision of a range of additional services.

These include a number of mobile marketing initiatives. Over a million Garanti bank cardholders are already members of the bank’s Bonus Trink programme, which lets them use contactless cards and stickers to collect bonus points as they shop, and there are already over 35,000 points of sale equipped to handle contactless transactions in Turkey.

Trink and BonusluAvea customers equipped with the new NFC device will now also be able to receive digital coupons on their phones which they can use to earn instant discounts and gifts. They can also check the current balance of their account on their mobile phone as well as see what special offers they have available to them. Cross-marketing solutions will also be available to enable, for example, purchasers of a ticket to a particular event to receive a special offer from a merchant located near the event venue.

“We have put the needs of the consumer at the centre of this project and central to our message to them is their ability to leverage contactless technology without having to change their mobile phone,” says Erkan Akdemir, CEO of Avea. “Through new technology such as this, we believe we can help to simplify the everyday lives of consumers and contribute towards a radical change in consumer behaviour. We look forward to driving this solution into the marketplace and plan to cooperate with other banks to ensure that such a solution can be used to the benefit of as many consumers as possible.”

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