Dutch bank ING and MasterCard are to pilot a near field communications (NFC)-based mobile payments system in Romania, enabling customers to use their handsets to pay for low value purchases.
The bank says about 500 clients will be given Nokia 6212 handsets incorporating NFC technology for the first stage of the six month pilot, enabling them to make payments by tapping their phones against specially equipped terminals at around 30 merchants in Bucharest.
As well as making contactless payments, participants will be able to top up their Maestro PayPass account balance over the air to their phone with a special code. They can also check their balance over the air.
The Romanian pilot is the first since ING and MasterCard outlined their plans to develop the system in February. They have been working with payments technology vendor Collis, Finnish company Venyon, which operates a service platform for over-the-air NFC payments and Taiwan-based NFC outfit Toro on the project.
Last month MasterCard launched a facility for banks to install PayPass contactless payments functionality onto customers' mobile phones over the air. The MasterCard Over-the-Air Provisioning Service lets issuers transfer a PayPass application onto a secure area of NFC enabled handsets via the mobile network.