Payments processor Payex is installing a mobile payments system at a number of Swedish universities with more than 100,000 students, initially using NFC stickers but later moving to NFC phones, expected to enrol over the next six months.
20,000 students are expected to be enrolled on the system by the end of this year, with a total of 100,000 students at a number of universities going live over the next six months, beginning with Uppsala University and Linköping University.
To begin with the mobile payments system will replace the cards currently issued by Payex for students to pay for copying and printing services. An expansion of the system to include payments at other locations both on- and off-campus is planned for later.
The patent pending system is fully compatible with NFC standards, meaning that a wide range of cards and devices could be used to identify consumers at the point of sale. RFID stickers and keychains, NFC phones and even contactless public transport cards, such as Stockholm Transport cards, are supported.
The system has also been designed as an open solution and, says Stefan Hultberg, CEO of Accumulate, "we are in discussion with other stakeholders about connecting to the solution."
The roll-out at the universities follows a successful trial carried out this summer in Visby, a medieval city on the island of Gotland designated by Unesco as a world heritage site. That trial was designed as a technical and operational test, Hultberg told NFCW, to check that the technology worked in the field in the way it was expected to and also to ensure that operational details such as merchant and consumer agreements were correctly implemented.
"There were very, very few problems," says Hultberg, and the Visby system "is now permanent and will expand. There are now hundreds of users and over 30 merchants connected."
Looking to the future, "our analysis of the mobile payment area concludes that NFC is the 'ultimate solution'," Hultberg explains. "This includes integrated NFC mobile phones and merchants equipped with NFC payment terminals. But it will take four to seven years until there is a critical mass of NFC enabled mobiles and NFC enabled merchants."
"Our solution is a bridging solution that works now and can bridge to the ultimate solution," he explains. "We will be fully compliant with the future credit card NFC solution. We believe that there exists a window of opportunity, 'B(nf)C', where we have a solution that works without NFC, with NFC stickers and with fully integrated NFC."