India: Citi Goes For Scale With Bangalore Trial
The six-month "Tap and Pay" trial is one of the largest to date in terms of planned handset numbers. Organizers have put the phone on sale on a handful of Nokia stores and had sold about 2,000 in fewer than three months after the trial launched, according to Citibank. The phones cost US$200 apiece at phone stores, of which consumers pay about $100 upfront, said Citi. But they get that back in credit and can use that for purchases at the 500 merchants that accept PayPass contactless payment for the trial. Organizers were also offering mobile couponing application. Without an infrastructure of contactless point-of-sale terminals in Bangalore or elsewhere in India, Citibank and other organizers equipped the merchants with readers for the trial.
Citi sees more future in NFC mobile payment than contactless cards. With Bangalore trial, the bank is hoping to find out how NFC can scale and, more importantly, how it can uncover a business case for the technology. Expect the bank to launch an NFC project in New Delhi next, perhaps involving transit fare collection.
Two months into the trial, 800 of the trial participants had made six or more purchases, according to Citi. Nearly all users had made at least one purchase. Two out of three merchants had accepted an NFC-based phone payment as of September, said Citi. See update.
* Trusted Service Manager: Defined loosely to include companies or other organizations securely distributing, provisioning and managing applications, generally over the air, on secure elements in NFC mobile phones; or licensing their platforms for this purpose.
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