OPINION: Korean mobile network operator SK Telecom's new T Smart Pay service comes with more than one twist to the 'standard' NFC business model. Not only has SKT bought its way into a card issuer for the launch, but it is also signing distribution deals with leading retailers.
T Smart Pay lets customers store up to eight credit cards in their mobile phones, as well as up to 30 membership/points/mileage cards and 50 coupons, and is being offered first via discount retail chain Home Plus. The retailer will promote the new Hana SK Card payments card to customers and will also be responsible for delivering customers their new T Smart Pay SIM card. "Then the company plans to introduce the service to other large-scale discount stores, department stores as well as franchise stores," the operator explains.
Could the model work in other countries too? Well, Home Plus is 95% owned by UK-based retail giant Tesco. And, the operator says, it plans to make "proactive efforts to enter the overseas markets to become the global leader in the field of smart payment."
Sarah Clark, Editor