NEW YORK, NY - Citigroup, MasterCard Worldwide, Cingular Wireless and Nokia today announced a consumer technology trial of Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled mobile phones with MasterCard PayPass(TM) contactless payment capability in New York City. The goal of this trial is to evaluate the speed and convenience that "tap and go" payments made through mobile phones can provide to Citi credit cards and Cingular customers in the New York City area. The trial is expected to run three to six months.
Pre-selected Citi MasterCard cardholders with Cingular Wireless accounts are participating in the trial and will receive Nokia NFC-enabled mobile phones with MasterCard PayPass payment functionality. MasterCard PayPass is a "contactless" payment program that provides consumers with a fast and convenient way to pay.
With their NFC-enabled phone, trial participants can pay for purchases at any merchant that accepts MasterCard PayPass by simply holding their phone near a secure PayPass payment terminal. If they choose, participants will be permitted to enable the PayPass functionality only at the point of sale and to disable it at all other times. The contactless payment transaction is automatically charged to the user through the same secure MasterCard payment network that processes traditional credit card transactions.
"As a leader in innovative products and services, Citigroup continually looks for ways to make the lives of our customers easier," said Amy Radin, Chief Innovation Officer, Global Consumer Group, Citigroup. "We are confident that mobile phone technology with contactless payment will appeal to our customers' increasing demands for speed, convenience and security."
"This trial offers Citi customers a new payment experience and, in fact, the first step in the convergence of the wallet with the mobile phone," said Ed Garofalo, Executive Vice President, Citi Cards.
"Carrying a mobile phone has become almost as common as carrying a wallet," said Scott McElroy, vice president technology realization for Cingular Wireless. "This trial will continue to help us learn more about how NFC technologies work and how customers will want to use their phones as part of their real-world transaction process."
"Most people have their mobile phone with them wherever they go to stay in touch. The simplicity of conducting everyday transactions, such as low cost purchases with their phone, adds high value and convenience for consumers," said Dieter May, Vice President and Head of Nokia Emerging Business Unit. "Nokia NFC-enabled phones used in this trial support over-the-air downloading of cardholder information, which is necessary for commercial rollout of NFC based mobile services. We believe NFC creates new and exciting opportunities for mobile operators, credit card associations, banks and other stakeholders, and we will be closely involved in the creation of the emerging NFC ecosystem bringing benefits to all parties."
"MasterCard has long believed that the mobile phone represents a ubiquitous payment device, in large part because consumers continue to grow more comfortable using them for a range of activites beyond making and receiving calls," said Art Kranzley, Executive Vice President and Group Executive, Advanced Payments, MasterCard Worldwide. "We also believe New York City makes an ideal backdrop for a technology built on speed and convenience. We are excited to team up with industry leaders such as Citi, Cingular and Nokia to test the promise of NFC in one of the world's fastest-paced environments."
Trial participants can also take part in the New York City Subway contactless transit fare payment trial sponsored by Citigroup, MasterCard Worldwide, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and MTA New York City Transit. All the customer has to do is activate the phone in order to tap for entry at participating 4, 5 and 6 subway locations along the Lexington Avenue Line.
NXP Semiconductors (formerly Philips Semiconductors) developed the NFC technology and chips for the NFC-enabled mobile phones in the New York City trial to facilitate secure, contactless communication between two devices. Giesecke & Devrient developed the Over the Air (OTA) personalization software that allows for the process of initializing your mobile phone with the information it needs to conduct secure transactions. ViVOtech provided NFC software and services to enable the trial working in concert with the partners.
To request to participate in the New York City area mobile phone trial, please visit nyctrial.com by December 20, 2006. Trial participation is limited and certain criteria must be met in order to participate.