Standard Bank in mass NFC roll-out

The bank will soon start offering contactless payment technology built into clients’ credit and cheque cards, signalling the biggest move yet by a South African financial institution to adopt the technology.

Standard Bank will begin including contactless payment technology in new credit and cheque cards, allowing customers to make payments using the “tap-and-go” method, rather than them having to have their cards swiped or inserted into a chip reader.

All new gold and titanium credit and cheque cards from Standard Bank will be equipped with the technology, with the bank telling TechCentral it’s using near-field communication (NFC)-based technology provided by MasterCard.

The cards are linked to clients’ bank accounts, allowing for funds to be deducted directly from their accounts, says Standard Bank’s head of personal markets, Sugendhree Reddy.

“Unlike many systems currently available, customers don’t have to pre-load cards with money to use this method of payment.”

There are already 450 compatible point-of-sale device in KwaZulu-Natal, mainly around transport hubs, with a limited number of devices available in the broader market. “We will be focusing on rolling out point-of-sale devices into the market more broadly in the near future,” a spokesman tells TechCentral.

The cards carry the MasterCard PayPass logo and have antennae imbedded in them. These antennae allow customers to pay at point-of-sale devices displaying the Paypass logo by tapping the card to the terminal. Customers do not need to give the card to the cashier, enter a pin or sign a slip for payments under R200.

To ensure security, a pin will be required for bigger amounts, the bank says.

A Standard Bank cheque card with integrated PayPass technology from MasterCard

Current Standard Bank customers will receive the new cards when their current cards are due for renewal. The annual fee for the contactless cards remains the same as for current cheque and credit cards. Paying via the tap-and-go method will count as an electronic transaction, the cost of which is bundled into banking packages.

The functionality will be extended to Visa-based cards in 2013, according to Reddy. “Standard Bank anticipates that the wider availability of these cards in the South African market will drive the tap-and-go method as a more common system of payment locally.”

For now, consumers are not able to use MasterCard’s PayPass application for NFC-enabled smartphones.

Standard Bank has already rolled out contactless payment technology in Durban’s transport system. Commuters using People Mover and Durban Transport buses can use the Muvo-branded transit card to pay their fare. The card replaces the traditional bus travel coupon, which provides for preloaded and discounted trips as well as concessionary travel passes for students and pensioners.

The Muvo cards are prefunded and reloadable, and can be used as a standard MasterCard, as well as in a contactless environment using PayPass.  — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media

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