November 29, 2010

Singapore-based DBS Bank has announced it will begin an eight-month trial of contactless mobile payment technology in Singapore in December. A thousand DBS customers with StarHub (a Singapore-based telecommunications company) mobile plans will be able to use the their mobile phones for everyday mobile payments such as bus and train fares. The project, which was collaboratively organized by DBS Bank, EZ-Link, Gemalto, MasterCard and StarHub, will involve embedding a small, thin device from Gemalto called N-Flex into customers' near-field communication phones. Unlike stickers, N-Flex is internal to the phone; it connects to the SIM card and wraps around the battery.

Trial users will be able to make payments with their mobile handsets at all merchant outlets that accept the MasterCard PayPass or the ez-link card, as well as on public transportation such as buses and trains.

Participants will receive an electronic mailer from either StarHub or DBS Bank that contains instructions on how to register their participation online. They will then be required to visit the a StarHub customer service center to have the N-Flex device inserted and mapped onto the SIM cards of their mobile handsets before they can start making payments with their phones.

"With the rapidly expanding use of mobile devices, our customers are increasingly expecting financial services and payments to be offered on their mobile devices," said Ooi Huey Tyng, senior vice president, cards & unsecured Loans, DBS Bank, in a statement. "We are happy our cardholders will be the first in Singapore that will benefit from the convenience of having the functionality of NFC-enabled chip embedded onto their mobile phones to make payments. Through this, we hope to further promote the adoption of cashless payment in Singapore."

The service is currently scheduled to be launched to the masses in the later part of 2011.

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