Turkcell upgrades NFC mobile wallet service

The Turkish mobile network operator has introduced a major upgrade to its NFC-based Cep-T Cüzdan mobile wallet, adding the ability to make online purchases and support for any mobile phone. Fourteen banks have signed up for the new service and a strategic partnership with MasterCard will see the platform being made available in other countries.

Turkcell CEO Sureyya Ciliv and Cenk Bayrakdar
TURKCELL: CEO Süreyya Ciliv and chief new technology business officer Cenk Bayrakdar launch Turkcell Cüzdan

Mobile network operator Turkcell has added a range of new features to its Cep-T Cüzdan mobile wallet service which, the Turkish mobile network operator says, makes it “the most advanced mobile wallet solution in the world”.

The key features of the newly expanded platform are that, as well as the NFC payment and offers functionality already available, payments can now be made by any mobile phone user and transactions can be conducted both in-store and online.

Customers sign up for the new Turkcell Cüzdan (Turkcell Wallet) service by simply texting “Cüzdan” to 7777. Customers with standard mobile phones will then be sent an over-the-air update that provides them with a basic SIM-based wallet while customers with smartphones will receive a link to download the full Turkcell Wallet app.

The new wallet comes with a default Turkcell virtual prepaid MasterCard that can be topped up at any of the carrier’s stores. Customers of partner banks can also add their credit cards to the service quickly and easily, by simply entering the last six digits of their card number. Fourteen Turkish banks have agreed to offer this facility to their customers.

The wallet can then be used to make purchases both online and in stores, as well as to transfer funds to other consumers and businesses. For online purchases at participating merchants, customers only need to enter their mobile phone number on the retailers’ website. After entering their phone number during checkout, they receive a message on their mobile phone from Turkcell asking them to confirm the purchase and to choose which stored card they wish to use for the purchase. They then select their card of choice and enter the PIN for that card to complete the transaction. Turkcell then sends the online merchant a confirmation that the payment has been made.

A similar purchasing experience is also being used in stores. Customers enter their phone number on the merchant terminal, receive a message from Turkcell and then confirm the purchase details on their mobile phone. Turkcell then passes the merchant a transaction confirmation when the purchase is complete.

The process takes about twenty seconds online, which could be slow in busy merchants. But the wallet is also integrated with Turkcell’s loyalty program so that those who pay with the new service will gain extra rewards. This, Turkcell believes, will make it worth the wait.

Customers with NFC phones will also continue to be able to make payments via NFC at merchants equipped with contactless terminals, Cenk Bayrakdar, the carrier’s chief new technology business officer, has told NFC World.

As well as payments and loyalty, the new wallet also works with coupons and group buying services. Here, Turkcell will use its knowledge of customers’ purchasing habits to make offers to subscribers so that each customer will receive a maximum of five targeted deals a day.

Turkcell plans to promote the new service heavily. The launch campaign, for instance, will offer double airtime to customers who top up their airtime via Turkcell Wallet.

The technology behind the new service has been developed entirely in-house by the carrier and Turkey’s other operators have also been invited to join the platform although, Bayrakdar says, “they haven’t answered yet”.

Businesses in other countries will also be able to use the new platform, via a strategic partnership Turkcell has signed with MasterCard. The carrier is already in talks with a number of companies in the region about integrating with the existing Turkcell platform and the technology is also available to license for companies interested in setting up their own version of the system in their own country.

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