#NFC in 2011: U.S. #Bank Testing NFC in 20 Different Markets

NFC-Enabled Mobile Banking Apps

Visa iPhone

Also involved in the pilot program is payments processing provider FIS and the payments specialist Monitise, which the bank credited with the development of the mobile banking application. Actually, there are two mobile apps involved – one written for BlackBerry smartphones, while the other is an iPhone app. Both offer similar functionality, Venturo says.

Using the apps, customers can perform balance inquiries, pay their bills, see their transaction history, and even switch on or off the NFC functionality. The balance inquiry, specifically, is updated in real-time, reflecting the transactions that were just made at checkout.

Ironically, the on/off switch is provided to address customers’ fears regarding this new technology’s security, despite the fact that NFC, in truth, provides more security than the mag stripe standard used on credit cards today. That feature may or may not arrive in the commercial product, if one is to launch.

Once enabled, these mobile phones can be used anywhere Visa has its contactless payment terminals in place. Merchants accepting these transactions exist in locations that range from pharmacies to fast food restaurants and even some convenience stores.

How the System Works

Customers participating in the pilot program receive the microSD card or iPhone case in the mail at the same time as their new credit card arrives. Included in the package are instructions as to how to insert the chip into the phone (or use the case), plus how to enable and use the mobile application.

At point-of-sale, customers can switch on the NFC functionality within the mobile application (if it was not on already), then simply wave their phone in front of the Visa payWave terminal in order to complete the transaction.

So far, the testers have found the process easy. “We’re really happy with the pilot program’s progress,” Venturo told us in March, while noting that U.S. Bank continues to refine the overall experience.

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