i-Free has unveiled new functionality in its "Wallet" mobile app. From now on, a contactless transport card can be loaded on "Wallet". In 13 regions of Russia, public transit passengers can enjoy the convenience of paying fares by lightly touching their mobile phone to a validator device.
The same app will also be used to acquire, store and manage discount coupons. Using NFC technology and QR codes, "Wallet" is now officially available for 8 smartphone models from HTC and Philips.
i-Free introduced Russia's first fully functional NFC Wallet app, which comes built into smartphones, in May 2013. The app uses i-Free TSM (Trusted Service Manager) platform, which has been certified by MasterCard. The MasterCard certificate authorizes the remote issuance of Mobile MasterCard PayPass® payment cards to mobile phones anywhere in the world. Today, i-Free TSM platform is the only certified solution of its kind in the CIS, and one of the first in the world.
Clients of Tinkoff Credit Systems (TCS Bank) were the first to try out the i-Free "Wallet" with bank cards loaded onto smartphones earlier this year. MasterCard, i-Free and TCS are currently offering the first 100,000 users a gift of 150 rubles (about $5) each, as an incentive for early adopters of the Mobile PayPass card technology,
In addition to the bank cards, i-Free "Wallet" now accepts and stores contactless transport cards. This enables the user to pay public transit fares in 11 Russian cities such as Angarsk, Vologda, Yekaterinburg, Kaluga, Kirov, Lipetsk, Nizhnevartovsk, Penza, Ryazan, Usinsk, Cheboksary. The Republic of Chuvashiya and the Region of Vologda are currently piloting the service. Residents of their capital cities, Cheboksary and Vologda respectively, can now purchase transport cards with "one click" using i-Free "Wallet" app. Once the card is loaded, users can pay public transit fare in no time with their NFC smartphones. For this part of the project i-Free is partnering with transit solution integrators Udobny Marshrut and Shtrikh M.
In addition to the contactless bank and transport cards, i-Free "Wallet" can be used to store all kinds of discount coupons. The i-Free platform enables users to purchase a variety of coupons with a single click right inside the app using any bank card that has been loaded into the "Wallet".
The coupon service has been implemented in partnership with KupiKupon, one of Russia's largest online discount coupon services.
"Developing the underlying technology platform, and the "Wallet" app that's based on it, we are striving to make the everyday usage of NFC smartphones not only useful and convenient, but fun, as well" said Kirill Gorynya, CEO of i-Free Innovations. "We are positive that users will soon appreciate the new level of convenience that the "Wallet" brings. They won't need to carry multiple cards, wait in line to buy a ticket, or hoard a pile of paper coupons. All of it is now available in your smartphone."
The i-Free "Wallet" app is built into 8 HTC and Philips smartphone models officially available in Russia. The lineup of supported handsets is expected to grow, with support of more major mobile phone vendors to be announced in the near future.