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Local telcos begin three-way battle for NFC supremacy

Jack Loo | Aug. 28, 2012
M1, StarHub and SingTel unveil their offerings on Android-based devices.

Singapore telcos M1, StarHub and SingTel launched their own Near Field Communications (NFC) services late last week.

All three services feature payment vendor EZ-link as a partner. Both M1 and StarHub have MasterCard as an additional partner. StarHub's NFC service boasts one more partner in local banking giant DBS.

The NFC services are currently available for smart devices on Google's NFC-ready Android operating system.

M1 launched two new Near Field Communications (NFC) services, M1 NFC Prepaid MasterCard and EZ-link CEPAS, in collaboration with MasterCard and smartcard payment provider EZ-link. 

"This is a major milestone for mobile payments and our customers can look forward to more NFC-based products and services in the future to enhance their connected life and work," said P. Subramaniam, chief marketing officer, M1.

Together with an NFC SIM and NFC-certified handset, customers will be able to make contactless payments nationwide, at merchants that accept Paypass and EZ-link NFC-payments. Customers who top up their M-Cards with the M1 NFC Prepaid MasterCard will also enjoy additional bonus airtime. Both NFC services are available at M1 shops.

Through M1 Mobile Wallet - M1's NFC mobile phone application, customers will be able to experience the convenience and benefits of contactless payments, via secured mobile services with NFC.

M1 has also implemented a wallet passcode as an additional security measure, which is required before processing manual payment transactions. A range of NFC-certified handsets including the Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung Galaxy S Advance and the Sony Xperia S, will be available for customers to choose from.

StarHub opens mobile wallet

StarHub's offering, SmartWallet, offers users a virtual DBS MasterCard PayPass card called One.Tap.

With just one tap of the smartphone, customers can pay for goods or services at more than 20,000 DBS and MasterCard PayPass merchant partners in Singapore.

"By partnering DBS, EZ-Link and MasterCard, we enable our SmartWallet users to shop, enjoy discounts, skip queues at the cinemas, pay for transport trips, and use their digital credit or debit cards securely with a single tap of an NFC-enabled smartphone," said Chan Kin Hung, head of marketing & products, StarHub.

Existing DBS card members can apply for One.Tap at any time through DBS Internet or mobile banking.

To start using SmartWallet, customers with an NFC enabled smartphone will need to convert to a StarHub NFC SIM card and subscribe to the free StarHub NFC value-added service. They can then go to Google Play to download the SmartWallet app.

Sony Xperia Sola, Samsung Galaxy S lll and Sony Xperia S are three NFC enabled Android smartphone models approved for secure NFC payment service. StarHub said the list of NFC-compatible smartphone models will be expanded progressively. StarHub will also pre-load the SmartWallet app in approved smartphone models sold at StarHub Shops and authorised dealers.


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