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First commercial NFC service launched in Malaysia

The new Maxis FastTap service lets customers use Nokia NFC phones to make Visa PayWave contactless transactions and pay for tolls, transit, parking and theme park charges.

 LANDMARK ACHIEVEMENT: FastTap scores several firsts, including being the first commercial implementation of Visa payWave on NFC phones.

LANDMARK ACHIEVEMENT: FastTap scores several firsts, including being the first commercial implementation of Visa payWave on NFC phones.

The world’s first multi-function NFC payments service has now gone live in Malaysia. Maxis, the largest wireless carrier in Malaysia with more than 11 million subscribers, Nokia, Maybank, a leading Malaysian financial institution, and transport payment card issuer Touch ‘n Go have teamed with Visa for the launch.

Customers who sign up for the new Maxis FastTap service are able to use their Nokia 6212 Classic phones to purchase goods and services at more than 1,800 Visa payWave merchant locations as well as pay for toll, transit, parking and theme park charges at over 3,000 Touch ‘n Go points nationwide.

The service allows Maybank Visa account holders to simply wave their NFC-enabled Nokia 6212 Classic handset in front of a contactless reader to complete a secure Visa transaction in a matter of seconds.

Maybank Visa account holders can download their Visa payWave credit account details directly to their Nokia 6212 Classic handset over the Maxis wireless network. Once the account has been personalized on the phone, account holders can then begin to make purchases at any one of the 1,800 merchant outlets that currently accept Visa payWave in Malaysia.

The launch of Maxis FastTap includes a number of world firsts:

  • It is the first commercial service using Visa payWave over NFC-enabled mobile phones
  • It is the first commercial service to integrate multiple NFC applications for contactless credit card payment (in collaboration with Maybank and Visa) and Touch ‘n Go electronic payment for transit, toll and parking payment on the same device.
  • It is the first commercial NFC service to feature over-the-air personalisation of credit card information over a mobile service operator’s network using a Trusted Service Manager interface.

“For Maxis, the launch of Maxis FastTap is a landmark achievement in our efforts to constantly bring innovation that can positively impact the lives of Malaysian mobile users,” says Sandip Das, Maxis’ chief executive officer. “The success of any new technology depends on having a solid ecosystem in place at launch. In this regard, Maxis was fortunate to work with Nokia, Visa, Maybank and Touch ‘n Go — all leaders in their fields — in developing this, from concept, trials and now, to commercial rollout of the world’s first integrated service that incorporates credit card and transport payment features.”

“This service is one of those miracles of mobile phones that we have often fantasized about in the past,” he added.

“As a leader in introducing innovative products to customers, Maybank is pleased to once again partner with other leaders in leveraging on technology to provide this revolutionary payment facility to customers,” said Lim Hong Tat, head of consumer banking at Maybank. “The Maybankard Visa payWave mobile service appeals to tech savvy members who want a mobile device that does more as well as reflect their lifestyle. With the convenience of having the credit card stored in the phone, they now do not have to worry about carrying too many cards in the wallet to shop.”

“With this advent in technology and payment convenience, customers can now conveniently shop with their mobile phone. They can use it at any Visa payWave retail outlet and will earn TreatsPoints when performing a payment transaction,” he added.

Stuart Tomlinson, country manager for Malaysia at Visa, said: “Malaysia was the first place in the world where Visa trialled its Visa payWave technology, so it is only fitting that it is now the first country in the world to offer Visa payWave on an NFC-enabled mobile phone on a commercial basis.”

“Maxis has been a long-standing partner of Visa in Malaysia and is excited to be the first to market with a commercial Visa payWave service on mobile devices,” says Dr Nikolai Dobberstein, Maxis’ senior vice president of strategy and new businesses. “Our collaboration with Visa is part of our wider NFC strategy, which includes multiple applications including mass transit, road tolling, parking, mobile marketing through smart posters and of course retail payment through Visa payWave. We see this announcement as important not only for consumers in Malaysia but for the broader financial services and telecom industries because it serves as a proof point that win-win business models are possible in mobile commerce.”

“We believe that Visa’s NFC mobile payment launch in Malaysia signals a tipping point for the payments industry globally as we move from mobile payment pilots to commercial availability,” said Elizabeth Buse, global head of product at Visa. “Malaysia has historically been an early adopter of new payment technologies. The launch of Visa’s first commercial NFC program in Malaysia is based on Visa’s experience gained from undertaking extensive pilot activities around the globe and is something Visa plans to replicate in other places around the world.”

Maxis has produced a FastTap user guide (pdf) which provides more details of how the system works and which companies are involved.

The launch follows a successful trial run by Maxis and Maybank in conjunction with Touch ‘n Go, Visa, RapidKL and Nokia in and around Kuala Lumpur from October 2007 to February 2008.

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