Vodafone NFC mobile wallet launches in Spain; Germany, UK, Italy to follow

Source: Vodafone

Vodafone announced today the launch of its mobile wallet service that will enable customers to make a wide range of everyday transactions with a simple wave or touch of their smartphone.

Vodafone's mobile wallet is the first European mobile payment service built on the GlobalPlatform(1) open standard, which makes it easy for organisations, including banks, retailers and transport companies, to host services in the wallet.

The Vodafone Wallet allows customers to leave their cards and coins at home and manage their daily transactions efficiently and securely using their smartphone. In addition to enabling customers to pay for everyday goods, the Vodafone Wallet will also be able to hold travel cards, loyalty cards, gift cards and vouchers, complementing and over time replacing the plastic cards in a customer's wallet or purse.

Vodafone SmartPass, a service developed in partnership with Visa, is the first mobile payment app available for the wallet. Vodafone SmartPass can be funded when needed and enables customers to pay for goods with their smartphone at any Visa contactless payment terminal in retailers around the world, including more than 1.2 million in Europe.

The Vodafone Wallet uses Near Field Communications (NFC) technology and equivalent EMV-compliant(2) payment technologies to send encrypted data over short distances, allowing it to support secure transactions in both payment and non-payment environments. If a customer's mobile phone is lost or stolen they can contact the Vodafone customer care team to have their phone and mobile wallet blocked.

Other features of the Vodafone Wallet include:

· easy to use - registration can be completed by downloading an app;
· highly secure - personal details are stored securely on the latest mobile SIM card and the details on the SIM card can be wiped remotely; and
· choice of handsets - the service will initially be available on NFC-enabled smartphones from Samsung, Sony and HTC(3), with plans to expand the range rapidly in 2014.

Vodafone Wallet and Vodafone SmartPass will launch in Spain today, Germany mid-December and tember and the Netherlandands, UK and Italy in spring 2014. Vodafone is also working with major European banks to integrate their card portfolios into the wallet. Vodafone will announce further details in due course.

Christian Wirtz, Group mCommerce director, Vodafone, said: "The Vodafone Wallet offers our customers the speed, simplicity and convenience of managing everyday transactions with their smartphone. By building our service on the latest GlobalPlatform standard as opposed to a proprietary system, our mobile wallet is open to all third-party service providers, including banks and financial institutions, and we are focused on delivering the broadest service portfolio possible."

Sandra Alzetta, Executive Director at Visa Europe, said: "We're proud to be taking the mobile payments ecosystem a further step forward with the launch of the SmartPass app and accompanying microtag, the first fruits of our partnership with Vodafone. Customers across Europe will be able to make secure mobile contactless payments through the Visa prepaid card in the SmartPass service, as well as take advantage of the benefits offered by a truly open mobile wallet; backed by all the security, trust and acceptance the Visa brand represents."

Vodafone SmartPass - the first available mobile payment service
Vodafone SmartPass allows customers to transfer funds to their mobile phone regardless of which bank they use, making it simple for them to make payments at any location with a Visa contactless terminal without getting their wallet or purse out. Customers can also check their balance, make higher value purchases of more than £20/€25 (limits vary by country) securely using a PIN as well as transfer funds securely to other SmartPass users.

Vodafone SmartPass offers customers a convenient and secure alternative to carrying cash with the added benefit of being able to keep track of their finances with real-time notifications and alerts as transactions are completed.

SmartPass Tag - for customers with non-compatible phones
If a customer does not have a NFC compatible smartphone, they can still use the mobile payment solution by downloading the Vodafone SmartPass app and applying for an 'NFC tag' that can be attached to their device. Customers can top up via the Vodafone SmartPass App and pay by tapping their phone at a point of sale. Customers with a feature phone can still use the tag but need to fund the account via a website.

Security through partnership
Today's launch follows extensive development work with world-leading industry partners, including CorFire, Gemalto, Wirecard and Visa to ensure a fast, easy-to-use and secure payment process.

The Vodafone mobile wallet uses the next generation SIM cards, which were developed specially to store sensitive data like payment credentials to protect from any fraudulent use.

The data is loaded onto the SIM using Trusted Service Management (TSM) systems. The TSM is a crucial part of securing any NFC-enabled mobile wallet. It is responsible for things like provisioning accounts in real-time and associating them with a user's mobile device. Both, the SIM and TSM, adhere to international standards set by Global Platform, a leading cross-industry organization.

The Vodafone Wallet application was developed by CorFire based on its CorPay platform and Gemalto provides Vodafone with its mobile operator TSM system and the compatible SIM cards. The Vodafone SmartPass service was delivered with the continuous support of Visa - which facilitated Vodafone's move into the mobile payments - and Wirecard, Europe's leading specialist for payment processing and issuing services.

1) GlobalPlatform standard is a cross industry, non-profit association with financial services, manufacturers and telecommunications companies among its members. It identifies, develops and publishes specifications that promote the secure and interoperable deployment and management of multiple applications on secure chip technology.

2) EMV is a global standard for credit and debit payment cards based on chip card technology.

3) NFC-compatible handsets include the Samsung S3, S3 LTE, S3 mini, S4, S4 mini, Sony Xperia Z and HTC One. 

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