1,500 customers of Telefónica and La Caixa have been issued with Samsung S5230 NFC phones which they can use to make debit and credit card payments in taxis, sports centres, at market stalls and in retail stores.
The pre-commercial NFC trial in the Spanish resort of Sitges, announced in February, has gone live.
The 'Mobile Shopping Sitges 2010' pilot is being led by mobile network operator Movistar, part of the Telefónica group, La Caixa and Visa and includes the participation of Gemalto, Giesecke & Devrient, Samsung, Ingenico and the Sitges city council.
1,500 customers of both Movistar and La Caixa have been chosen to participate in the pilot and can use their Samsung S5230 NFC phones to make payments using their La Caixa credit or debit card accounts at 500 merchants in the town.
Transactions valued at up to €20 can be made without a PIN and larger transactions can be carried out provided the customer enters their PIN on the keypad of the merchant's POS terminal to confirm the purchase.
Each of the pilot's participants are being given training on how to use their phones and a website providing comprehensive information on the new service and how it works has been set up by Telefónica at www.mobileshopping.es.
"Telefónica will expand the offer to use its technology to other banks, and expects that La Caixa will partner with other platforms in addition to Visa," Kim Faura, head of Telefonica's Catalonia region, has told Europa Press.
The pilot is scheduled to last for six months. Participants will not be required to return their NFC phones at the end of the pilot, however, as there are plans to both continue the service in Sitges and to expand it to the city of Barcelona, just 35km up the coast from the resort.
The start of the Sitges pilot is the second of a pair of significant moves towards the adoption of NFC by Telefónica to take place in the last seven days. Earlier this week, we reported that the company's first commercial NFC service has gone live in the Czech city of Pilsen and that Telefónica's business strategy for NFC deployments is now in place. An NFC bus ticketing trial is also due to go live in the near future in Lima, Peru.