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NFC trials show mobile payments set to be flavour of 2011

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The announcement that Gingerbread, Android’s next iteration, is going to include NFC capabilities, coupled with an extensive trial of bank and card company-led NFC projects in Turkey and the US, mark mobile based payments as one of the key m-retailing hotspots of 2011.

Set to offer an alternative to credit cards, transport payment cards and more, NFC-enabled mobile payments put card functionality on to the handset. Android Gingerbread is set to offer this through handsets early in 2011. Meanwhile, MasterCard, Gemalto, Garanti Bank and Turkish mobile phone operator Avea have joined forces to launch the official roll-out of Turkey‘s first NFC initiative involving an antenna equipped SIM card mobile phone payment functionality.

Turkish consumers will be among the first in the world to have the opportunity to make their mobile phones compatible with NFC technology via an N-flex SIM card which carries a flexible NFC antenna. The solution, supported by MasterCard PayPass technology is first introduced in Turkey with Avea and Garanti Bank launching a nationwide awareness and activation campaign.

Commenting on the launch, MasterCard‘s Global Head of Emerging Products, Ed McLaughlin said: “Mobile Payments has shifted from concept to reality and I‘m proud that MasterCard, together with our partners here today, can be among the first in the world to demonstrate how great ideas can not only be a commercial reality – but more importantly – a tangible benefit for today‘s consumer.”

Meantime, Monitise, a global mobile money solutions provider, has joined forces with NFC software developer ViVOtech, to deliver mobile phone payments services to banks across America. The partnership means customers of participating banks will be able to turn their handset into a mobile wallet (linked to registered bank accounts, credit and debit cards) and purchase items using contactless payments at merchants with NFC capabilities.

In addition to contactless payments, service users will be able to transfer money from their registered accounts to other bank accounts, perhaps in response to an overdraft alert or to friends and family. The service will also deliver retail coupons and discounts directly to the user on their mobile phone. 

ViVOtech’s software allows data, such as credit, debit or prepaid card credentials, to be remotely loaded onto a secure chip. This can be in an NFC phone, a SIM card or a chip contained within a microSD card that can be inserted into the majority of existing smartphones, including BlackBerry, Android, Nokia and even in various iPhone cases.

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