Privredna Banka Zagreb (PBZ, Intesa Sanpaolo Group), Intesa Sanpaolo Card Ltd. and American Express today announced that the three companies have initiated a pilot to test - for the first time - HCE (Host Card Emulation) for mobile NFC (Near-Field Communication) payments at POS (Point-of-Sale) terminals in Croatia.
PBZ is the first American Express card-issuing partner to test HCE on the American Express global network.
With HCE, PBZ can store card account details in a secure, virtual cloud. When a cardholder initiates a payment using an NFC-enabled mobile phone, the card account and payment details are transmitted from the cloud to the NFC-enabled mobile phone and POS terminal, enabling the cardholder to complete the transaction in a fast, secure manner.
The PBZ mobile NFC payment services will be enabled initially on smart phone devices. With HCE, PBZ will be able to offer mobile NFC payment services to all of its cardholders in Croatia, regardless of the mobile network operator, and on multiple payment networks.
"We are delighted that PBZ is the first financial institution within the Intesa Sanpaolo Group to test HCE for secure mobile NFC payments on the global American Express network," said Zdenek Houser, President of the Management Board of Intesa Sanpaolo Card, the Group's payment card company. "At Intesa Sanpaolo Card, we have always been committed to investing in innovative payment technologies, and we are extremely proud that we have been able to quickly roll out this pilot with PBZ Group and American Express and enable fast, secure contactless payments using a mobile phone in Croatia."
Once a cardholder has registered for the mobile NFC payment service with PBZ, the cardholder then shall download the application to the mobile phone handset. Once that is done, the cardholder can enroll a payment card using two separate verification codes that are provided by PBZ. Then, when in a store, the cardholder simply "waves" the mobile phone in front of an NFC-enabled POS terminal, and the payment is completed.
"PBZ continues to lead the marketplace in introducing the latest payment innovations," said Dinko Lucic, Member of PBZ Management Board. "In Croatia, PBZ Group was the first to launch internet banking, in addition to online mobile banking 10 years ago. By testing this new NFC-based secure payment option, we will continue to play an important role in making the latest payment technologies available to our customers."
"American Express recognizes that consumers around the world are paying in new and different ways," said Mike Matan, Head of the Global Network Business, American Express. "We are delighted to launch this HCE pilot with PBZ and Intesa Sanpaolo Card, and we look forward to working closely with them as we continue to explore and introduce new mobile NFC payment options on the American Express network in Croatia."
"The launch of this pilot in Croatia marks an important milestone that will ultimately drive broader adoption of mobile payments across the region," said Adriana Saitta, Head of Retail of Intesa Sanpaolo International Subsidiary Banks Division. "Following the pilot and the insights we gain from our tests, we soon will be able to make the HCE solution available to other banks within the Intesa Sanpaolo Group, allowing us to quickly deliver mobile NFC solutions across a diverse range of payment products."