on 19 September 2014.
Mastercard Belgium has revealed a new contactless payment system that allows smartphone users to make payments using their device’s NFC chip.
The technology has been developed in collaboration with PrePay Solutions and Belgian-based operator Mobistar, who will deploy the technology amongst 100 of its employees later this year.
To make a payment, users simply hold their smartphone within four centimetres of the merchant’s contactless payment terminal, after which the credit is taken directly from the customer’s bank account.
Payments up to €25 can be made without the customer having to enter their bank PIN.
David Dechamps, General Manager at MasterCard Benelux, said: “Payments via smartphone have been on the rise the last couple of years – but the technology has always been restricted to an e-commerce environment. From now on, consumers can transform their smartphone to an actual wallet and conduct payments at contactless terminals in regular shops. This means a huge boost of ease-of-payment.”
Mastercard has already also equipped its Belgian staff and a number of local retailers with contactless payment technology, with terminals steadily being introduced across the country.
Mobistar CEO, Jean-Marc Harion, added: “Belgian consumers have become a lot more ‘digitally savvy’ – which means their smartphone plays a more central role in their daily lives. We are convinced that consumers are ready to use their smartphone as a secure mobile payment method.”
Mastercard said its NFC payment technology is currently used in 36 European countries and 66 countries worldwide, with 2.5million outlets around the world equipped with contactless terminals.
This week, NFC payments when live on London’s Underground network, allowing EE customers with a compatible smartphone and the operator’s Cash on Tap app to travel using just their handset.
Apple launched its own payment technology earlier this month along with the company’s latest smartphone. Apple Pay allows iPhone 6 users to pay for products via NFC using the device’s fingerprint sensor.
Apple’s payment system is unique in that no card numbers are stored on the phone – purchases are generated through unique account numbers, with the holder’s details remaining encrypted.
Regardless, in August Gartner’s annual Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies suggested that NFC had bottomed out due to a lack of practical implementations and low operator adoption.
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