Tinkoff Credit Systems is to launch an NFC mobile wallet service, developed by Russian mobile technology developer i-Free, that enables virtual MasterCard PayPass cards to be stored on embedded secure elements in Android NFC phones — avoiding the need to partner with a mobile network operator.
As well as providing the mobile wallet application, i-Free is also acting as the online banking provider's trusted service manager. The wallet can also support transport ticketing and location-based couponing.
The application is delivered over the air and is currently available on the Philips Xenium W336, HTC One and HTC One SV mobile phones. i-Free says it recognises the limited availability at the moment but is working to prepare its services for mass commercial use later this year.
"We aim to offer to our clients the most advanced and hi-tech products," says Tinkoff Credit Systems' Anatoly Makeshin. "To us, the no-branches bank, the most convenient way of delivery of a payment instrument right to the client's hand has always been of paramount importance.
"This solution combines both high usability and speed: it takes few minutes to get a card into a smartphone. This is a breakthrough, one more confident step into future payments."
The platform has not yet received official certification from MasterCard but, i-Free's head of innovations Kirill Gorynya told NFC World, "i-Free has already passed a multi-level certification and audit process in order to meet compliance requirements for technical functionality and bank card data processing security. We have completed extensive testing in MasterCard authorized laboratories as well.
"At the moment the payment system is in the process of becoming certified. We expect to obtain the MasterCard certification before the commercial launch of NFC Wallet this summer."
i-Free also says it hopes to gain the support of mobile network operators for implementing its platform onto NFC SIM cards to offer broader adoption by banks and transport companies.
"While creating the NFC wallet we understood that we were developing an application that people would use every day, and we did our best to make the wallet easy to use by any person," says i-Free project leader Pavel Sokolov. "That is why we designed a simple, self-explanatory user interface and embedded a lot of functions to use the application easily."
"The start up of the first NFC service in Russia with remote Mobile MasterCard PayPass card issued and personalization is a remarkable event for further mass development of NFC infrastructure and services available to both Russian banks and their customers," says Dmitry Tartyshev, vice president for mobile business development at MasterCard Russia.
"Consistent work of the project teams of i-Free, Tinkoff Credit Systems bank and MasterCard made it all possible. It is worth noting that to implement this project, i-Free has undergone very difficult multi-level certification and audit process for compliance of technical functionality and bank cards data processing safety, as well as testing in MasterCard authorized labs."