NYC consumers to test 'Tap & Go' mobile phones

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on December 20, 2006

NYC consumers to test 'Tap & Go' mobile phones

Citigroup, MasterCard Worldwide, Cingular Wireless and Nokia have announced a consumer trial of Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled mobile phones with MasterCard PayPass contactless payment capability in New York City.

The goal of the trial is to evaluate the speed and convenience that Tap & Go payments made through mobile phones can provide for Citi credit cardholders and Cingular customers. The trial is currently expected to run from three up to six months.

Selected Citi MasterCard credit card holders with Cingular Wireless accounts are participating in the trial, and are to receive Nokia NFC-enabled mobile phones with MasterCard PayPass payment software built in.

Personal security Using the NFC-enabled phone handset, participants can pay for purchases at any merchant that accepts MasterCard PayPass by holding their phone near a PayPass payment terminal at the checkout. If they want to, participants can tighten their own security by enabling the PayPass functionality when they reach the point of sale and then disabling it again afterwards.

The contactless payment transaction is automatically charged to the user through the same secure MasterCard payment network that processes traditional credit card transactions.

Phones and wallets converge According to Amy Radin, chief innovation officer for the Global Consumer Group at Citigroup, "We are confident that mobile phone technology with contactless payment will appeal to our customers' increasing demands for speed, convenience and security." Ed Garofalo, executive vice president for Citi Cards, added: "This trial offers Citi customers a new payment experience and, in fact, the first step in the convergence of the wallet with the mobile phone."

"Carrying a mobile phone has become almost as common as carrying a wallet," explained Scott McElroy, vice president of technology realisation for Cingular Wireless. "This trial will help us learn more about how NFC technologies work and how customers will want to use their phones as part of the real-world transaction process."

Most consumers carry their mobile phone with them wherever they go, and the simplicity of conducting everyday low-cost transactions with it adds value and convenience. According to Dieter May, vice president of Nokia's emerging business unit, the NFC-enabled phones used in this latest trial also support over-the-air downloading of cardholder information, which is necessary for the commercial rollout of NFC-based mobile services.

Subway trial linked-in Participants in this latest trial can also take part in the existing New York City Subway contactless transit fare payment trial (sponsored by Citigroup, MasterCard Worldwide, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and MTA New York City Transit). All each participant has to do is activate the phone in order to tap for entry at participating 4, 5 and 6 subway locations along the Lexington Avenue Line.

NXP Semiconductors (previously known as Philips Semiconductors) developed the NFC technology and chips using in the phone handsets for the trial, and Giesecke & Devrient developed the over-the-air (OTA) personalisation software that allows the handset to conduct secure transactions. ViVOtech provided the necessary NFC software and services in cooperation with the other programme partners.

For additional information: ·  Visit the trial at ·  Visit Cingular at ·  Visit Citigroup at ·  Visit MasterCard at ·  Visit Nokia at ·  Visit NXP at