Visa International has partnered with Chunghwa Telecom, Chinatrust Commercial Bank (CTCB), and Nokia to launch a public trial programme in Taiwan showcasing its latest implementation of the near field communications (NFC) Visa Mobile payments platform.
The trial brings together NFC-enabled mobile phone handsets, over-the-air (OTA) personalisation features, Visa payWave contactless payments, and direct marketing offers from participating merchants, sent directly to the consumer's mobile phone.
According to Gordon Cooper, regional head of mobile payments for Visa International (Asia Pacific), "The public trial is a natural progression for contactless payments in Taiwan, which is currently the leading Visa payWave contactless market in the Asia Pacific region."
With more than 1.4 million Visa contactless cards in Taiwan, cardholders are more than aware of the convenience that contactless payment services can offer. Cooper said that the new trial programme aims to spread the existing Visa payWave contactless payment option to mobile devices.
Mr Luo Lian-Fu, chairman for Chinatrust Commercial Bank, added that "The public trial is built on the experience the bank and Taiwanese cardholders have gained from Visa payWave, and will provide important lessons for delivering services that centre on consumers' mobile lifestyles."
Six months and 500 consumers
The six-month trial involves 500 Chunghwa Telecom Call Call co-branded credit cardholders who will be using NFC-enabled Nokia 6131i handsets to make contactless payments at any of the 3,000 stores that accept Visa payWave contactless cards in Taiwan.
As the latest mobile penetration rates for Taiwan suggest, the mobile phone has become a personal necessity and an indispensable part of consumers' lives, according to Mr Ho-Chen Tan, chairman for Chunghwa Telecom, who explained that the public trial is important because it will illustrate how payments can be personalised on mobile devices.
Retail offers delivered direct
Consumers will be able to obtain merchant offers by pre-registering their preferences to receive certain types of coupons, or by holding their phone up to special "smart posters" located in popular shopping areas, which trigger on-demand downloads of specific merchant offers to the mobile handset.
On-demand offers are supported through the use of posters and other media containing NFC tags. All the offers received are then stored on the phone in the graphics-rich software application that manages the Visa payWave feature on the Nokia handset.
First merchants participating
As part of the mobile offers feature, Blockbuster will initially trial discount coupons at all 61 of its branches in the Taipei metropolitan area, while 11 other merchants have also signed up to provide offers through smart posters. These early participants include restaurants, cafes, bars, and cinemas.
"Smart tag offers will focus on merchants in the Xinyi District as it is the most popular shopping, dining, and entertainment area in the Taipei city. Our merchant partners will include Mr. Brown Cafe, Vieshow Cinemas, and a range of restaurants at Eslite's flagship shop in Xinyi," said Lian-Fu.
Testing the value-add proposition
"Apart from the use of an OTA provisioning process and graphics-rich handset software based on the Visa mobile platform, we are complementing the Visa payWave experience with a mobile marketing solution that is also a core component of the Visa Mobile platform. By incorporating mobile offers into this trial we can test the potential of the mobile device to deliver value-added services that complement the convenience of payWave," said Cooper.
Visa's Mobile platform is supported by a number of leading mobile technology providers that enable Visa, its issuing banks, and mobile operators to engage in trials and develop mobile payments and services. The platform's support comes from handset manufacturers, chip suppliers, mobile applications developers, over-the-air (OTA) service providers, and mobile messaging providers.