Poland’s mBank has withdrawn the facility for customers to add mobile versions of their debit cards to the NFC payments services offered by mobile network operators T-Mobile and Orange. Instead, the bank has told NFC World, it will focus on supporting bank-backed mobile payments service Blik and the launch of its own host card emulation (HCE) based service later this year.
Blik is backed by six Polish banks and lets customers make payments in stores and online, withdraw cash from ATMs and send P2P transfers with their mobile phone. The service uses technology originally developed by PKO for its Iko mobile payments service and was given the go-ahead by the National Bank of Poland in November 2014.
T-Mobile launched its MyWallet NFC payments service in October 2012 in collaboration with MasterCard and with support from Polbank as well as mBank. The launch came shortly after mBank partnered with Orange for the debut of Orange Cash in Poland.
“Starting from March 2016, mBank will not issue any new debit cards in SIM-centric, NFC technology,” the bank told NFC World. “All cards that are already issued will remain active until their expiration date. Mobile payments are still available thanks to the Blik system. mBank is also working on introducing HCE technology to its offer.
“We are working on this alternative and will introduce new options to Blik customers. Moreover, we observe intensive growth of interest amongst our customers — each month, over 46,000 customers execute at least one transaction using Blik. Over 110,000 customers have Blik installed on their smartphones.
“Blik is also more customer-friendly, because all you need to use is your smartphone — not necessarily supporting NFC — and your bank’s mobile app. But we also believe in alternative solutions, that is why we intensified our work on HCE technology, that will give our customers a broad range of mobile payments solutions.”