Absa commits to 4,000 NFC-enabled terminals by Q3

Banking group Absa (ASA) has committed to deploying 4,000 Near Field Communication (NFC) -enabled point of sale terminals in retail stores across South Africa by Q3 2012.

The group has kicked off a trial involving 500 of its own staff members operating in a live commercial environment, using mobile phones as a payment device.

Absa, in partnership with Mastercard, have embedded their Paypass Tap and Go™ payment card on the handsets for the trial.

This would enable trial participants to load funds into a prepaid store of value on a secure element on the phone, at point of sale, through Absa Online or at Absa ATMs.
Research In Motion’s BlackBerry models would be the initial handset for mobile payment trials.

Arrie Rautenbach, head of retail markets at Absa, told BusinessTech: “Our exploration of NFC technology on mobile devices, announced in December, will continue during 2012 as we investigate the dynamics that require testing before our planned commercial launch.

“NFC-enabled point-of-sale terminals are located at an increasing number of merchants in Johannesburg and Cape Town. These will support our trial that will initially involve 500 users.”

Absa said it would gather feedback from users through campaigns designed to encourage usage of the service, so that the service can be sufficiently tested.

Running parallel to this trial is the development of The National Department of Transport’s electronic payments standard for transit ticketing in South Africa.

“This electronics standard will allow several entities in the NFC and transit ecosystem to design and build solutions that will allow commuters to have a seamless experience when paying for transport with mobile wallets and contactless cards,” Rautenbach said.

“Having a critical mass of contactless terminals in the market as soon as possible will be crucial in our ability to bring an NFC payments solution to the market,” the retail lead said.

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Absa commits to 4,000 NFC-enabled terminals by Q3