The bank and mobile network operator plan to follow the introduction of the Unicom Merchants Bank mobile wallet service in Shanghai with a national rollout that could ultimately make the service available to all 43 million of the bank's credit card customers.
The service is initially rolling out in Shanghai from December 2012 and enables China Merchants Bank's credit card holders that use China Unicom as their mobile telecoms provider to store their card details in the SIM card in their NFC phone.
Customers can then use their phone to make purchases at merchants equipped to process China UnionPay Quick Pass contactless cards — 162,000 merchants in Shanghai are currently equipped with Quick Pass compatible terminals.
A national rollout of the service is set to follow the initial introduction in Shanghai, making NFC payments ultimately available to 43 million China Merchants Bank credit card customers across the country. 109 million people currently use China Unicom's mobile network.