Citi Brings Next-Generation NFC Mobile Payments to India
Nokia, Vodafone, MasterCard, ViVOtech partner Citi in launch, Bengaluru to Tap into the Future with Largest Ever Marketplace Pilot
Bengaluru, Karnataka, India, Tuesday, June 30, 2009 (AllPayNews.com) --Citi today announced the launch of Citi Tap and Pay in the city of Bengaluru, thus bringing to India next-generation contactless credit card payments based on Near Field Communications technology. The launch of the Citi Tap and Pay pilot service will be one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive pilots ever undertaken and is part of Citi’s ongoing efforts to harness new innovative technologies to provide enhanced convenience, accessibility and mobility for customers. Reinforcing its leadership role in accelerating the adoption of this emerging technology, Citi has established a fully secure, scalable and interoperable mobile payments ecosystem in Bengaluru in collaboration with Nokia, Vodafone, MasterCard and ViVOtech.
With the launch of Citi Tap and Pay in India, customers in Bengaluru will experience the simplicity, ease and convenience of using their mobile phone as a credit card. The technology will allow customers to tap their mobile phone on a contactless reader at the point of sale to pay for purchases, eliminating the need for the traditional swiping of credit cards. The service also does away with the need for customers to send SMS or incur mobile data charges to make these payments.
Early adopters of this technology will enjoy promotional offers such as discounts at popular merchant establishments, which cover a wide range of categories including department stores, food courts at shopping malls and office buildings, restaurants and fast food chains, bookstores and multiplexes.
Nokia will support the service with its NFC-enabled Nokia 6212 classic phones The 3G phone provides consumers the capability to conduct NFC-based interactions with other such everyday devices and services. Most importantly, NFC-enabled phones can replace the multitude of cards in consumer wallets. Vodafone is the Mobile Network Operator for the pilot service. MasterCard will offer its MasterCard® PayPass™ contactless payment and security infrastructure. ViVOtech is providing the underlying technology, including the NFC wallet, the Over-the-Air (OTA) card provisioning software, the smart posters and the mobile coupon application in addition to the contactless readers that participating merchants will use to accept payments.
Jeff Semenchuk, EVP and Head of Growth Ventures, Citi Innovation, said: "Citi believes contactless mobile payment services will be a key lifestyle driver for our highly mobile, international and increasingly urban customer base, and we are delighted to be the first to deliver this innovative service to them. 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."
N. Rajashekaran, Country Business Manager, Global Consumer Group, Citi India, said: “We are very pleased to offer this breakthrough service to our cardholders in Bengaluru and bring to reality the convergence of the wallet with the mobile phone. Our goal is to ensure that Citi Tap and Pay successfully embeds itself into our customers’ mobile lifestyles.”
GK Chakrapani, Director, Corporate Business Development, Nokia India, said, “Nokia is the pioneering global leader in the evolution of NFC standards and solutions. The core NFC strategy is to provide market leading devices for consumers and develop services that add value to the consumer experience and allow the NFC ecosystem to evolve. Nokia believes that NFC has the potential to be a disruptive technology, enabling a human way of interaction, transforming everyday tasks, making things easier, more intuitive and more effective.
“Nokia’s NFC-enabled devices like the Nokia 6212 classic, combine payment, ticketing and potential loyalty applications all in one device, which makes it interesting for many businesses. Today, we are happy to associate with Citi to offer the Citi Tap and Pay service that would make secure credit card payments a reality.”
Rajesh Dongre, COO, Mobile Commerce, Vodafone Essar, said, “The mobile phone has become a key personal device and it is our strategy to employ the latest technology and innovation to drive even greater value for our customers. 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 standardized NFC technology, adding more choice and hence more value to our subscribers.”
“We are delighted to work with Citi to bring contactless payments technology to consumers and retailers in Bengaluru. With our increasingly busy lives, its easy to appreciate the ease and convenience of paying for your everyday items with your everyday device – no more fumbling for wallets and change,” said T.V. Seshadri, vice president and country general Manager, South Asia, MasterCard Worldwide. “Both MasterCard and Citi understand the needs that influence consumers’ lifestyle choices and have been working closely with the industry to spur the growth of NFC mobile payments by developing open, global standards and driving product innovation. Citi is known world over for its cutting-edge products, and we are confident that with this collaboration, NFC mobile payments is set to take off in India.”
Michael Mullagh, CEO of ViVOtech, said: “We are delighted to provide the end-to-end technology from the handset to the reader in one of the world’s largest NFC launches. This new technology promises to revolutionize the payment and shopping experience and bring enormous benefits to consumers and the payment, retail and mobile ecosystems.”
Citi Tap and Pay customers will use the new NFC-capable Nokia N 6212 classic phone, which they can purchase at designated Nokia stores, pre-loaded with the Citi Tap and Pay application enabled with MasterCard’s PayPassTM contactless payments technology. They will then be able to securely execute an Over-The-Air (OTA) download of their Citibank MasterCard Credit card onto their mobile phone. Once personalized, their credit card on the phone is ready. Customers can use the phones to make Tap and Pay transactions at locations displaying the Citi Tap and Pay and MasterCard PayPassTM acceptance marks. Citi Tap and Pay transactions are absolutely secure, and require a PIN validation that ensures complete peace of mind. In addition to the built-in security features, the contactless payment transactions will be automatically charged to a customer’s Citibank MasterCard card account through the same secure payment network that processes traditional credit card transactions.
Through this pilot, Citi will gather user insight across a wide range of parameters. In addition to assessing customer acceptance to making contactless transactions through mobile NFC, the pilot will also track the response to NFC-enabled interactive posters and mobile coupon redemptions.
This is one of many innovative solutions Citi is testing and rolling out around the world. In addition to mobile, Citi is developing and delivering products and services for customers who commute via public transit, manage their money online, and are seeking a more convenient retail branch experience.
Bengaluru has a distinct place in Citi’s history of innovation as it was the launch-site for Citi’s pilot Suvidha program in 1998. The pilot proved so successful that Suvidha went on to create a new product platform called Bank@Work for Citi globally.
Citi, the leading global financial services company, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 140 countries. Through its two operating units, Citicorp and Citi Holdings, Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, and wealth management. Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com or www.citi.com.
Nokia is a pioneer in mobile telecommunications and the world’s leading maker of mobile devices. Today, we are connecting people in new and different ways - fusing advanced mobile technology with personalized services to enable people to stay close to what matters to them. We also provide comprehensive digital map information through NAVTEQ; and equipment, solutions and services for communications networks through Nokia Siemens Networks.
About Vodafone Essar
Vodafone Essar is the Indian subsidiary of Vodafone Group and commenced operations in 1994 when its predecessor Hutchison Telecom acquired the cellular license for Mumbai. The company now has operations across the country with over 74.08 million customers**. Vodafone Group is the world’s leading international mobile communications corporation. It currently has equity interests in 27 countries across 5 continents and 40 partner networks with over 303 million proportionate customers worldwide. The Essar Group is Vodafone’s principal partner in India. The Essar Group is a diversified business corporation with a balanced portfolio of assets in the manufacturing and services sectors of Steel, Energy, Power, Communications, Shipping Ports & Logistics, and Projects. Essar employs more than 50,000 people across offices in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.
**Figures from Cellular Operators Association of India, May 31, 2009
About MasterCard Worldwide
MasterCard Worldwide advances global commerce by providing a critical economic link among financial institutions, businesses, cardholders and merchants worldwide. As a franchisor, processor and advisor, MasterCard develops and markets payment solutions, processes approximately 21 billion transactions each year, and provides industry-leading analysis and consulting services to financial institution customers and merchants. Powered by the MasterCard Worldwide Network and through its family of brands, including MasterCard®, Maestro® and Cirrus®, MasterCard serves consumers and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. For more information go to www.mastercard.com.
ViVOtech (www.vivotech.com) is the market leader in Near Field Communication (NFC) mobile payments, promotions and over-the-air (OTA) provisioning infrastructure software, transaction management software, NFC smart posters, and contactless terminals. ViVOtech’s products are used by most prominent retailers all over the globe and the company has shipped over 500,000 contactless terminals to more than 35 countries. In 2009, ViVOtech received the prestigious Frost and Sullivan North American Smart cards Product Line Strategy of the Year Award. ViVOtech’s investors include Citi, First Data Corporation, Motorola Ventures, NCR, and Nokia Growth Partners.