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MasterCard, DBS Bank, StarHub and EZ-Link to test Gemalto NFC add-on in Singapore

Gemalto’s new Upteq N-Flex enables near field communication functionality to be added to a wide range of mobile phones and is the first NFC add-on to conform to the Single Wire Protocol.

Mastercard Gemalto Upteq N-Flex

SIM+ANTENNA: The Upteq N-Flex device is a SIM together with NFC circuitry and an antenna mounted in a wafer-thin flexible lightweight carrier

MasterCard is to run a pilot test in Singapore of a new SIM+antenna NFC solution developed by Gemalto.

The Upteq N-Flex device is the first NFC add-on to conform to the Single Wire Protocol (SWP) and is designed to add near field communication functionality to a wide range of existing mobile phones.

For the trial, MasterCard is collaborating with DBS Bank, mobile network operator StarHub and EZ-Link, operator of a contactless stored value card with over 20,000 acceptance points in Singapore including public transport services and retail outlets. Participants in the trial will be existing holders of DBS and EZ-Link Fevo MasterCards.

“This innovation is aimed at accelerating mobile NFC payments in the region,” explains MasterCard’s Ajay Bhalla. “MasterCard’s collaboration with Gemalto marks an important milestone for the contactless payments industry, with mobile services expanding beyond simple payments and fuelling economic connections for consumers in the global marketplace.”

Participants will be able to use their phones to make payments at merchants equipped to accept MasterCard PayPass contactless cards and, later, possibly pay use them for transport ticketing too: “We are also exploring the possibility of using the Upteq N-Flex solution for our contactless e-purse application (CEPAS) to enable mobile NFC payments for small ticket retail and mass transit including buses and trains,” says EZ-Link’s Nicholas Lee.

In February 2009, Singapore became the first country to give the go ahead for the creation of a central Trusted Third Party (TTP) designed to deliver a fully inter-operable, multi-application national NFC ecosystem. Government funding is being used to encourage merchants to switch to contactless card accepting terminals and a number of NFC trials have taken place in the country over the last couple of years.

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