NFC shopping zone opens in Seoul

Korea’s leading mobile network operators, card networks, phone manufacturers and government agencies have joined forces to provide shoppers in Seoul’s busiest shopping district with a wide range of NFC services including payments, couponing, smart posters and digital receipts.

Banners advertise Seoul's NFC Zone
SEOUL: Banners advertise NFC Zone

An NFC shopping zone has been opened in Myeong-dong — the busiest shopping area in South Korea’s capital city, Seoul — by the Grand NFC Korea Alliance, an association formed in June by the country’s leading mobile network operators, phone and device manufacturers, card issuers and government agencies.

During a three month pilot that runs until the end of January, shoppers in the NFC Zone can use their phones for a wide range of NFC applications including:

  • Payments at some two hundred merchants.
  • Smart ordering in local cafes and restaurants, allowing customers to tap a tag to order a drink rather than having to queue up and wait for service.
  • Smart posters that enable shoppers to download coupons and advertising information, including promotional videos.
  • Movie ticket purchasing, along with downloading trailers and show time information from smart posters. Ticket checking at the theatre can also be done via NFC, and there’s a service that automatically sets phones to silent mode and turns off camera functions.
  • Bus timetable information and real-time service status, downloadable via NFC tags located at bus stops.
  • Collection of loyalty stamps, allowing shoppers to receive rewards once they have made a pre-set number of purchases from a store.
  • Electronic receipts delivered directly to NFC phones as a legal replacement for paper receipts, using a recently agreed standard NFC receipt format developed by telecoms research institute ETRI.

Over the next year further trials will take place, including a project at Seoul’s Incheon airport, the introduction of peer-to-peer NFC payments for independent merchants and the addition of public transportation ticketing applications.

Members of the Grand NFC Korea Alliance include: