Smart to expand NFC offerings

After pioneering the use of Near Field Communications (NFC) in the Philippines, Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) is now partnering with an international technology giant to expand the country’s use of NFC technology as a fast and convenient means of completing payment transactions.

Smart recently inked a memorandum of understanding with Oberthur – a world leader in the field of secure technology – on the implementation of an innovative payment system using NFC, a technology that allows wireless data exchange between two devices in close proximity to each other.

“Through our partnership with Oberthur, Smart’s NFC payment solution will be accessible to millions of Filipinos, whether they own a smartphone or not. While the country’s smartphone penetration is increasing at a rapid pace, we do not want to alienate the large majority of Filipinos who are still using feature phones,” said Smart Financial Services Head Tricia Dizon.

For several months now, Smart employees have been using NFC to buy food and beverages at the canteen inside their Makati headquarters. All they have to do to pay for their purchases is tap a special Smart Money card with an embedded NFC chip on an NFC terminal.

Dizon said Smart will make NFC technology available across different industries like food, transportation, and retail.

“Merchants and customers will definitely save a lot of time and effort with Smart’s NFC payment solution. There will be no need to prepare change, and no need to take the NFC card out of a wallet or bag. This means people will have more time to attend to more pressing matters,” she said.

Global NFC leaders

To ensure that Smart delivers only the best NFC experience to Filipinos, Dizon said, the wireless services leader partnered with a big and trusted name in the telecommunications industry.

Oberthur has a proven track record in NFC technologies, having been involved in France’s “Nice, NFC City” project since 2010. It has 10 years of experience in remote administration platforms, and is a trusted supplier to more than 5,000 banks, mobile operators, and transport authorities.

“Oberthur is pleased to collaborate with Smart to revolutionize the Philippine payment industry.

This partnership marks another milestone in the longstanding partnership with Smart in providing secure technologies and services,” said Eric Cabrera, Oberthur Business Manager for the Philippine Telecom Sector.

NFC pioneer in the country

Smart was the first Philippine telco to utilize NFC technology in the country using smartphones and cards. As early as October last year, Smart introduced “Tap2Share,” a service that let subscribers using an NFC-enabled smartphone to make a balance inquiry and download mobile content like news, music, and games, simply by tapping their phone on specially marked posters.

A few months later, Smart launched “Tap2Pay,” the country’s first mobile NFC service that let users pay for products or services. Nokia C7 users were able to buy a ticket to a World Trade Center event in December 2011 simply by tapping on marked posters at the entrance.

“NFC is just part of the long list of innovations that Smart has introduced in the Philippines. We assure Filipinos that as with our previous pioneering efforts, we are pulling out all the stops to make sure that they will get superior NFC services from Smart. For us, it’s not enough to be the first. We continuously strive to offer only the best services to our subscribers,” Dizon said.

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