Two can play at the UK-banks-with-NFC-payments game. RBS (and by extension, NatWest) is partnering with Visa Europe to roll out TouchPay, a mobile payment system based around an iCarte case for the iPhone 4 and 4S -- sorry, early iPhone 5 owners. In tandem with a native app, the service allows paying for goods at British shops by tapping the phone at a Visa-capable NFC terminal without needing the short-range wireless built-in. Any purchases under £20 ($32) can even skip the PIN code, if you're just in that much of a hurry to get a Pret À Manger sandwich. Only 1,000 of the 9,000 who pre-registered for TouchPay are getting into Visa's wallet-free initiative at this stage, although all NatWest and RBS customers with one of Apple's semi-recent smartphones can participate once a trial run is over. We're just wondering if and when Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 8 owners get in on the action.
Visa Europe and RBS bring mobile contactless payments to UK Apple iPhone users
TouchPay service launches for first 1,000 RBS and NatWest customers with Apple iPhone 4 and 4S models
London, 2 October 2012 - Working with Visa Europe, RBS and NatWest today launched TouchPay, a mobile contactless payments service for Apple iPhone 4 and 4S models powered by an NFC-enabled (Near Field communications) protective cover accessory. Initially available to the first 1,000 customers who registered to experience the speed and convenience of mobile payments, TouchPay will be made available to all RBS and NatWest customers who have Apple iPhones in the near future.
Interest in participating in the trial program has already been incredibly high, with more than 9,000 RBS customers registering to participate over a period of three days.
Ben Green, Head of Mobile at RBS, comments: "TouchPay has proven incredibly popular and shows that our customers want more flexible and convenient ways to pay. Delivered alongside our updated mobile apps, the TouchPay service means that our customers need only carry their smartphone with them to make payments and manage their finances wherever they are."
To use the service, customers simply attach the cover to their Apple iPhone 4 or iPhone 4s and follow the on-screen instructions to download the TouchPay app from the Apple App Store. Once the activation process is complete, users can use their smartphone for transactions of £20 or less at mobile contactless-enabled retail outlets without entering their PIN and can also track their spending through the TouchPay application.
Sandra Alzetta, Senior Vice President and Head of Mobile at Visa Europe, says: "A key industry challenge in bringing mobile contactless payments to consumers is finding ways to enable existing smartphones that do not offer NFC technology. Services like TouchPay show how NFC-enabled accessories for smartphones can deliver the future of payments today and help hasten mainstream adoption."
iCarte, the NFC-enabled cover used for the TouchPay service, was developed by Wireless Dynamics, Inc., a Visa Europe technology partner.