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Turkey’s largest bank rolls out MasterCard-based NFC payment tool

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Garanti Bank, Turkey’s largest aprivate bank by asset size, and Avea, Turkey’s sole GSM 1800 mobile operator, have teamed up to provide Turkish mobile phone users with NFC-enabled SIM cards that remove the need to buy NFC-enabled handsets.

Developed in conjunction with MasterCard and Gemalto, this new offering is a world first and will be available from July 2010. It enables users to conduct mobile contactless payments at numerous compatible payment terminals in Turkey and around the world. Users convert their existing mobile phone to become compatible with NFC technology simply by installing the new SIM card. This will enable them to immediately benefit from the convenience of the new payment method without having to replace their existing handset.

Based on Garanti’s existing Bonus Trink (pay pass) feature, that already allows users to make payments of up to 35 TL using either a credit card, keyfob, watch or the so-called Bonus Trink Sticker, mobile phone users will have the option to make payments by debiting either one of their Garanti credit cards or by using pre-paid credit. In addition, customers will be able to use their mobile phone to pay for public transport where contactless functionality is available. The NFC-enabled SIM card can also be used as identification to gain access to buildings, as a ticket to football games or concerts, and to pay for items at numerous vending machines across Turkey. It even allows users to download additional functionalities to pay motorway tolls.

Mehmet Sezgin, CEO at Garanti Payment Systems, adds: “Together with Avea, we have placed the needs and demands of our customer base at the centre of this project, enabling mobile phone users to gain access to NFC technology without having to replace their handsets. Not only are we enabling our customers to effortlessly conduct contactless payments by connecting their credit or pre-paid cards or both with their mobile phones but we are also moving closer to the aim of eliminating cash altogether by developing innovative products and services. While there are a number of similar pilots in operation today, banks and consumers in Turkey are pioneers in adopting innovative technologies and we are proud to offer our customers a world first in delivering cutting-edge NFC technology.”

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