Mobile phones often double for other practical devices – camera, clock, calendar – and now a credit card.
Citibank has rolled out its Citi Tap and Pay program on a pilot basis in India. Using near-field communications technology, Citibank has launched a next-generation, contact-less, credit card payment mechanism in Bangalore.
The technology will allow customers to tap their mobile phone at a compatible reader at the point of sale to pay for purchases, eliminating the need for the conventional swiping of credit cards and enhancing the security of credit card transactions by eliminating the need to hand a physical card to a merchant.
Citi Tap and Pay customers will have to use the new NFC-capable Nokia (News - Alert) N 6212 classic phone, which they can purchase at designated Nokia stores, pre-loaded with the Citi Tap and Pay application enabled with MasterCard’s PayPass contactless payments technology, according to TechTree. They will then be able to securely execute an Over-the-Air, or so-called “OMA” download of their Citibank MasterCard Credit card onto their mobile phone. Once personalized, their credit card on the phone is ready.
The security implications of a cell phone-credit-card spawn off-putting thoughts for many U.S. consumers, increasing their risk of fraud by leveraging such technology. According to The New York Times, the risk of account fraud from mobile payments is “small,” said Kevin Fu, an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, who in 2006 uncovered several security holes in credit cards that are waved rather than swiped. Credit-card companies say that these problems have been fixed.
Last year, Citibank launched – through its Mobile Money Ventures platform – mobile financial services to its customers in Hong Kong. MMV’s platform makes it possible to access Citibank’s Mobile Financial Services on the iPhone 3G.
According to Business Standard, based on the success of the pilot project, Citi aims to roll out the Tap and Pay service across other cities in the world, said Vijay S. Ramachandran, the chief marketing officer in the South Asia region for Citibank.
Citi, a global financial services company, has some 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 100 countries, providing consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, and wealth management. Citi’s major brand names include Citibank, CitiFinancial, Primerica, Smith Barney, Banamex, and Nikko.