At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the leading mobile phone company Samsung and the credit card giant Visa have announced a heavyweight partnership in contactless mobile payment. Users of the famous credit card will now be able to pay for their purchases using a Samsung smartphone fitted with a contactless NFC (Near Field Communications) chip and equipped with the embedded “Visa payWave” application.
This partnership will speed up access to payments using mobile phones, a payment method which has been piloted in Nice in France since 2010 and subsequently developed in several major French cities.
France is currently one of the leading European countries in terms of equipping the general public with NFC mobile phones:
- Since July 2012, the number of customers in France has increased three-fold, exceeding the 2.5 million mark in late 2012, this number will soon reach 3 million.
- 55,000 shopkeepers in France are already equipped with terminals to accept payment using a mobile phone.
- The majority of manufacturers (Samsung, LG, Sony, HTC, Blackberry, Motorola, Nokia) consider SIM-based NFC technology as a priority and are automatically incorporating it in their new products. Over 26 mobile phone models are now NFC Cityzi compatible (compared with 14 last year), with in particular, the arrival of best-sellers such as the Samsung Galaxy S3.
- Applications are increasing: 3 national payment services, transport services available in Nice and shortly 2 other cities, along with projects for services to be deployed across 13 cities or communities, such as citizen services, tourist services, car sharing or the shopping pass for example;
- 23 partners, members of the French Association of Contactless Mobile Services (Association Française pour le Sans Contact Mobile), are involved in the development of NFC in France and internationally, including mobile operators, service providers (banks and transport companies), application developers and manufacturers.
According to the firm ABI Research, almost two billion telephones will be equipped with this technology in 2017.
Since the widespread implementation of NFC assumes a joint mobilisation of various types of operators and particularly banks, the Samsung Visa agreement clearly provides excellent global prospects for NFC technology. On 25th February, GSMA and AFSCM also announced the provision of international NFC standards for all those involved in developing NFC services.
Nice has established itself as the regional leader for “contactless” technology in France with the deployment of NFC since 2010, supporting a genuine “portfolio of services” for everyday life (public transport, shopping, cultural life, etc.). Nice developed the Cityzi services platform and hosts the NFC World Congress every September. Companies such as Gemalto or Ask in Sophia Antipolis are developing innovative products and services around contactless technologies (NFC, RFID).