Singapore's government has appointed a consortium, including Citi and Gemalto, to build a S$40 million interoperable NFC infrastructure for mobile payments.
The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) says the group it has put together will ensure that by the middle of next year, consumers can tap and pay for their purchases at more than 20,000 retail points and taxis using NFC-enabled mobile phones.
European vendor Gemalto will develop and operate the Trusted Third Party (TTP) infrastructure for the system. Citibank, DBS Bank and pre-paid card specialist EZ-Link have signed up to enable payment products to be issued over-the-air and stored on secure chips in their customers' NFC-enabled mobile phones.
The services will be launched progressively across the country's three mobile operators - M1, SingTel and StarHub - from the middle of next year. Details on NFC handsets will will be announced by the operators at a later stage.
Retailers need to roll out terminals that accept contactless payment cards from MasterCard or Visa, or support Singapore's CEPAS payment standard. The IDA says that beyond payment, merchants can also work with terminal providers to develop customer reward and loyalty redemption services.
Gemalto is also working with other players on value-added services such as interactive digital signage advertising and mobile coupons and ticketing.
Ronnie Tay, CEO, IDA, says: "The TTP infrastructure will enable prospective service providers to reach out to all mobile subscribers in Singapore. Such ubiquitous access will spur the growth and adoption of innovative NFC mobile services, and in turn transform Singapore's payment landscape."