NFC Times Exclusive – U.S.-based Citigroup plans to soon launch its own NFC-based mobile payments service, Citi Pay, in the U.S. and Asia, in part using technology from Mastercard, NFC Times has learned.
The service will use host card emulation to enable customers in the U.S. and at least two Asian countries to load Citi cards onto their Android phones and tap and pay for in-store purchases, sources told NFC Times. It will build on the HCE-enabled Banamex wallet launched by Citi's Banamex subsidiary in Mexico with Mastercard in February. It's unclear whether this wallet, which enables customers to pay with Banamex Mastercard-branded credit cards at contactless point-of-sale terminals, will be renamed Citi Pay.
Citi Pay in the U.S. will only support Mastercard-branded Citi cards. But the service in at least two countries in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to also support Visa-branded Citi cards, sources said. The two countries are believed to be Singapore and Taiwan, with Australia also being talked about for a launch of the wallet. The launches in Singapore and Taiwan could happen before those in the U.S., said sources. It’s unclear which month the launches in the U.S., Singapore and Taiwan will happen, but all are expected before the end of the year. Citi could launch in other markets, as well, but likely not until next year.