Finnish banks add HCE payments to Pivo mobile wallet

Finland’s largest financial services group is to add support for HCE payments to the mobile wallet app it introduced two years ago. OP’s Pivo wallet has been downloaded more than 500,000 times and allows customers of the co-operative group’s member banks to monitor their spending, track loyalty programmes and access vouchers.

OP Financial Group, FinlandThe service is compatible with OP Visa debit and Visa Electron cards and is currently undergoing pilot testing ahead of a wider rollout later this year, Kristian Luoma, business development manager at OP, told NFC World.

“We started from the point of view of trying to create a companion or a value-add provider for the existing payment means, meaning the EMV cards,” Luoma explained.

“For the past two years, that has been the way we have been growing. So, the application has provided features for understanding your balance and spending, plus it has been integrated with different loyalty programmes and retailer-provided content such as vouchers. We have now started to include the payment feature.

“We will support remote payments, which is card-not-present payments for something that you could be paying for in-app or anywhere elsewhere you have card details stored, and we also announced support for proximity payments which are based on NFC host card emulation technology. We created the implementation for that and are now rolling it out for our customers so that they can complete contactless transactions at point-of-sale terminals wherever contactless payment is supported.”

“The way in which we are proceeding is that it is available today for pilot users and we will be opening up to anybody who wants it later this year,” Louma continued.

“From the beginning of our programme two and a half years ago we set out on a mission to provide a solution that catered to all needs that consumers have when they’re shopping and what they are expecting from their mobile. When we did the first consumer research, we discovered that we shouldn’t start with mobile payments.

“The penetration of smartphones was fairly low, the point-of-sale support was fairly low and, to be honest, the technology wasn’t up to the standard where the mobile payment as a solution could have a fighting chance against the existing cards which are fairly simple and fast to use.

“Over the past few years, we’ve been measuring up the consumer readiness and looking left and right at the situation with the point-of-sale terminal availability and so forth. Now we believe that, from the technology point of view as well as the consumer readiness point of view, we have come to a crossroads.

“We wanted to move on this payments technology. It was a plan from the very start but we’ve been holding out and waiting for the perfect timing. Now we think the time is right.”

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