Touch ‘n Go has announced that it, together with Maxis and CIMB, are in collaboration to introduce a transaction service that will allow you to use your NFC-enabled smartphones like Touch n’ Go cards. The service is expected to go online in two months’ time.
In addition, Touch n’ Go CEO, Abdul Karim Md Lassim said that the service will be made available to other operators six months after it is launched with Maxis.
While this is not exactly new news – Maxis talked about the same collaboration in March of this year – it’s certainly exciting to see how the service would actually work and if it will appeal to consumers. This is because contactless payment services are not actually new in Malaysia.
In addition to Touch n’ Go, we have the Visa Wave and Mastercard PayPass services that use the same NFC technology. In fact, payment via NFC-enabled phone was pioneered by Maxis with its FasTap service that was introduced way back in 2009, but we can see that these services are not really gaining much traction here.
We understand that through the service, CIMB account holders will be able to reload their devices using funds available in their bank account but beyond that not much detail has been revealed.
On the surface of it, when the service goes online, NFC-equipped smartphones will work much like Touch n’ Go cards to day but when you look at it in more detail, there a number of questions that needs to be answered. Like which NFC smartphones would be compatible with this service?
While you would think that all NFC smartphones have essentially the NFC capabilities built in them, they are in actual fact not created equal because when it comes to making transactions, you need a more secure type of NFC protocol and most of the devices in the market right now do not support this protocol.
We don’t know whether Touch n’ Go, Maxis and CIMB have found a way to bypass this but chances are you might have to get a new phone to use the service.
In addition, to make this upcoming service popular, the three companies (Touch n Go especially) will have to make the Touch n Go NFC panels ubiquitous. This means the panels must be available in more places than just at toll booths, LRT stations, in busses and at parking entrances.
The Touch n’ Go panels should be everywhere to 1) create awareness to the consumer on the availability of the service and 2) to give subscribers to service value and convenience because they can use their NFC phone to make payments almost anywhere.
There’s also the question of payment, does the service require a CIMB account or is it possible to top up the NFC phones just like you would your Touch n’ Go cards at 7-Elevens and petrol stations?
We don’t know but we’re pretty sure that the people at Touch n’ Go, Maxis and CIMB have thought about all these things and how to solve them to make the upcoming service as easy to adopt and as appealing to consumers as possible.
In any case, we’re just happy that the three parties will be offering the service as an option to the consumer. Kudos to them for pioneering this.
Maxis has started teasing its FastTap NFC service for the iPhone which allows Touch N Go payments with your mobile. The current iPhone 4S doesn’t come with NFC capability but the teaser image suggests that this is made possible with a NFC reader/adapter case from iCarte. Even the Maxis FastTap App is already available for download on iTunes. It is also suggested that Maxis is partnering with CIMB as their payment partner alongside TouchnGo.
Last week, Maxis has mentioned that it will be expanding NFC functionality and this is probably the first wave. With more NFC supported devices in the market, we hope that Maxis will expand FastTap device support beyond the iPhone 4/4S. No dates were mentioned but we expect Maxis to reveal more details soon.
To learn more about Maxis FastTap, head over to here.
At a bloggers meet held today, Maxis announced that it will supporting NFC-related services in a big way. With more supported devices such as the Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus, Xperia S and HTC One X coming into the market, now looks to be the right time for an operator to come in to tap into — pun intended — the capabilities of NFC.
Currently in Malaysia, NFC usage is limited to transferring contacts and URL links but with a proactive operator like Maxis working with with partners like Touch n Go and banks, the potential for NFC to offer so much more can be realised.
Mark Dioguardi, the joint-COO at Maxis, said that the operator is looking to offer NFC-based payment services sometime in second quarter of this year. Digouardi mentioned that the Maxis is currently working with Touch N Go and a “big bank” to make the service available to its subscribers.
Back in 2009, Maxis pioneered NFC-based payment services called FastTap. The service which integrated Touch N Go and Maybank Visa Wave services received lukewarm response due to the very limited selection of NFC-capable devices at the time. Because of this, users who wanted to use the service had to purchase a dedicated phone — in this case, the Nokia 6212 Classic — to be able to make payments using NFC. This presents a step cost of entry for users and make the service unattractive to subscribers.
Now that more and more devices are being offered with NFC built-in, there is a massive potential for the technology to be widely adopted in Malaysia. The soon to be launched NFC-based service from Maxis will allow users to use supported smartphones much like a Touch N Go card to make payments for public transportation, tolls and even for fast food. The service can be further enhanced with in-billing reloads or even by linking to the users credit card allowing for a seamless payment experience just by using your smartphone.
We’re really excited about this and its great to see that an operator is making such a bold step to offer this service to users. We’ll keep a close eye on developments and will let you know once we have more details of the upcoming service.
Google has announced Google Wallet, a mobile payment service which is currently being tested by Google, Sprint, Citibank, Mastercard, First Data and Sprint. It uses NFC technology which lets you make payments by simply tapping your device at the counter terminal.
Google Wallet is not just about payments as it also integrates merchant loyalty, rewards and even coupon programs that helps improve your shopping experience. What this means, you can get instant offers and redeem points instantly in a single tap. For those who are skeptical about credit card security, Google Wallet offers several layers of security which includes a PIN request before a transaction is made.
For those without credit card, Google is releasing Google Prepaid Cards which is a virtual credit that’s being offered by Mastercard and Money Network. In addition, it also can store shopping gift cards for selected retail outlets, making shopping more paperless. Overall, this eliminates coins, dollar notes and even the bunch of cards that we normally carry. The bad news however is that it will be available only in the US and only applicable for the Nexus S 4G for.
Maxis had a demo of the Nexus S’s NFC capabilities during the launch but so far we have yet to see any real application of it in Malaysia. However looking way back, NFC isn’t really new as Maxis does have a NFC solution called FastTap. Only available with a Nokia 6212, Maxis FastTap service offers both Visa Wave & Touch n Go mobile payments and it works in most places with Visa Wave and TnG terminals. We are wondering when Maxis is planning to extend this to the rest of the new devices with NFC. We simply love this concept and won’t mind using this for our day to day shopping.
For more information on Google Wallet, head over here.
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Nokia’s Executive VP for markets, Anssi Vanjoki has announced that all Nokia smartphones will be NFC ready 2011 onwards. This is a huge commitment by the manufacturer but they didn’t mention which upcoming model will start carrying the feature.
According to the report, Nokia says that the NFC ready devices will support various business models for NFC, including SWP (Single Wire Protocol), Secured Elements (special microSD) and embeded secured element.
Maxis is the first and only operator in Malaysia to introduce NFC Service. Branded Maxis FastTap, the service integrates with Touch n Go and Visa Wave. The only model they have for this is the Nokia 6212. So far in Malaysia it didn’t really kicked off in a big way which we feel is partly blamed on the lack of choices. How many people would skip their smartphone purchase for a simple candy bar phone for the sake of NFC?
If Nokia really does embed NFC capabilities on all future smartphones, we might be able to see the rise of NFC users in Malaysia and the rest of the world. You can’t deny that Nokia does have a fair share of users particularly from the lower-middle income as well as youth groups. Imagine college kids being able to pay for LRT or even fast foods from your phone. The application for NFC is endless but definitely need more choice of devices.
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You may have heard or seen NFC before. NFC, which is Near Field Communication is now available in Malaysia thanks to Maxis, called FastTap.
So what is NFC? Basically its like a Mobile ID/Wallet that works similarly like Touch n Go. Imagine, the ability to make retail purchase and pay using your mobile phone by tapping on a reader device. Same goes to LRT, where you can just tap your mobile phone on the entry/exit gate reader boards.