Third French Bank Launches M-Payment in Nice, Hires Gemalto as TSM
Crédit Agricole has joined the precommercial trial of NFC services in the French city of Nice, according to France-based vendor Gemalto, which announced it is providing trusted service management for the bank.
UPDATE: Crédit Agricole has dediced not to participate in the Nice trial, shunning moible operator SIM cards and has instead launched a trial using microSD cards. END UPDATE.
Crédit Agricole was to have joined Crédit Mutuel-CIC and BNP Paribas in launching mobile payment for the Nice project. The two other banks had launched services during the latter part of 2010. But transaction numbers remain very small. Crédit Agricole launched the service last month. Other big French banks are expected to eventually join the project.
About 3,000 users can tap to pay at a limited number of merchant outlets in Nice, along with paying fares on buses and trams and tapping NFC tags in posters for information and content. The project involves all three major French mobile operators along with a mobile virtual network operator owned by Crédit Mutuel.
Gemalto is also serving as TSM for Crédit Mutuel-CIC and mobile operator Orange. It had been disclosed earlier that Crédit Agricole had also hired Gemalto as TSM to provision and manage payment applications over the air on SIM cards in NFC phones used in the project. Competing French vendor Oberthur Technologies serves as TSM for BNP Paribas and telcos SFR and Bouygues Telecom.
While small, the Nice project is significant because it demonstrates the way multiple mobile operators, service providers and vendors could work together on the launch of commercial NFC services. Other French cities are expected to launch similar NFC demonstration projects this year, leading to national rollouts.
Gemalto will also serve as TSM for Barclaycard in the United Kingdom for the credit card issuer’s planned rollout of NFC with that country’s largest mobile operator, Everything Everywhere. The partners plan to launch the rollout in early summer. Gemalto, which is mainly a smart card vendor, is also providing NFC-enabled SIMs for the telco.
Gemalto, which has served as TSM on a number of NFC pilots, is also expected to provide trusted service management for the Isis joint venture, made up of three major U.S. mobile carriers. The telcos, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile USA, plan to launch NFC-based payment and other services next year.