NFC: TIM Wallet is on the way NFC: TIM Wallet is on the way

NFC: TIM Wallet is on the way

When the smartphone replaces credit cards.

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The smartphone has now become an integral part of our lives.

We use it to make calls, stay connected to the Web, share and find information, post photos and real time videos on Social Networks, read e-mails and the latest news, and stay up to date.

And what if it also replaced credit cards? Just imagine the convenience of being able to make payments by holding your smartphone near a proximity reader with the utmost simplicity and security.

This will be enabled with TIM Wallet, the Telecom Italia virtual wallet, which, using the potential of NFC (Near Field Communication) technology, will allow payments to be made in proximity by simply holding your smartphone near an enabled reader (NFC POS). This will facilitate many aspects of everyone’s daily life such as paying for the shopping at a supermarket, purchasing bus and metro tickets, coffee at a bar, newspapers, books and magazines.

NFC is radio frequency technology that enables the fast and secure exchange of information between two devices in proximity, within a radius of a few centimetres. For everything to work correctly, the two devices must be at a maximum distance apart of about 10cm. 

A real revolution

The revolution in payments has already begun. It is not the first time that Telecom Italia reports on NFC: back in 2011, the company signed an agreement with ATM (a Milan-based transport company) for mobile ticketing, for both surface and underground transport, via mobile phones. And in 2013, an experiment began in collaboration with the Centro di Ricerche Fiat (Fiat Research Centre) aimed at applying NFC technology to cars.

This concept revolutionises the market and the way a smartphone is used. It is interesting news for users, operators in the sector, banks and retailers. But how does it work?

Users who decide to activate the function on their smartphone receive a special SIM card that contains their credit card data securely. They only need to download the APP to handle payments and hold their smartphone near the service provider’s contactless POS reader to make a payment.

The Italians are accustomed to paying by cash, however, in Italy there are currently about 150,000 contactless POS devices and about 9 million smartphones with NFC technology, and these numbers are constantly increasing. Therefore, all the prerequisites exist for the extensive development of so-called mobile proximity payment services.

TIM Wallet is created

To meet people’s needs, TIM is launching TIM Wallet, the virtual wallet that will gradually replace all the usual means we are accustomed to: payment cards, loyalty cards, public transport passes and tickets, house and office keys, ID cards, etc.

The first TIM Wallet service will start with the virtualization of payment cards, using mobile proximity payments. Customers will be able to “dematerialize” using their NFC smartphone: using either the TIM SmartPAY, the prepaid TIM card developed in collaboration with VISA and the Intesa Sanpaolo bank, or the payment cards of Italian banks including Mediolanum, UBI, BNL and Intesa Sanpaolo in the initial phase, with the addition of other banks later on.

 

As of September, TIM customers will also be able to experiment with NFC technology for payments made directly with a TIM product: using the TIM SmartPAY, the rechargeable Tim credit card created thanks to the contribution of Visa and the Intesa Sanpaolo bank, payments will be made via NFC technology and special enabled POS devices, which will become increasingly widespread. Users will only need a NFC TIM Card and be required to download the TIM Wallet App.

For purchases up to 25 euros, users will only need to hold their smartphone near the POS device, whereas for purchases over that amount it will be necessary to enter a personal PIN code in order to increase user security.

The features of TIM Wallet make it an innovative and practical service for users. In fact, it is:

  •  Handy: our smartphone is always ready for use, always in our hands and we always know where it is.
  • Easy: users only need to hold their smartphone near the NFC proximity reader and the transaction will take place in a few seconds.
  • Secure: payment transactions are encrypted and all data are stored on the SIM card of the smartphone, using high-security systems.
  • Traceable: users can keep track of all payments made for purchases.

The transition from cash to NFC technology will surely take time. Consumers and retailers will need to become accustomed to it and be equipped. According to forecasts, however, by 2016 one user in two will have a NFC smartphone and from 400,000 to 600,000 enabled POS devices will be available.

Telecom Italia aims to increase the use of mobile payments and make TIM Wallet available throughout Italy, after experimenting in the Milan area for two years.

Furthermore, Telecom Italia is working with companies in other key sectors, such as transport, retail, access control and meal vouchers, in order to exploit all the potential of SIM-based NFC technology in various fields of application and gradually increase the services offered via the TIM Wallet.