ING bank is on its way to becoming the first bank to bring contactless payments services to the Netherlands. Customers owning a suitable Android smartphone (NFC-enabled, running on KitKat 4.4 and up) can download the mobile payments app and activate it with their mobile PIN code. They can use it in more than 100,000 stores throughout the country.
Users simply need to hold their mobile phones close to a payments machine at the time of payments.
Feedback from several thousand customers participating in a pilot programme in September was used to enhance the new app which was launched this week.
“We continuously try to make payments easier for customers, and this is the next step,” Laurens Schretlen, Manager of Cards & Mobile Payments at ING Netherlands, said in the press release.
For the first six months, payments made with the mobile payments app are free. After that, there is a small charge of EUR 0.50 per month.
ING has also invested a lot in bringing biometric authentication to payments. In September 2014, ING became the first bank in Europe to provide hands-free banking. The bank introduced a voice control mode in its mobile banking app called “Inge.” The voice control mode will be introduced in a step-by-step fashion in the Netherlands. At the beginning, the bank’s customers will be able to use Inge to check account balances or request payments, followed by authorization and logging in through voice recognition.
In March 2015, the bank introduced its second biometric feature by adding fingerprint authentication to its mobile banking app. Customers will be able to login to the bank’s mobile banking app with their fingerprints. In the next update of the app (expected this summer), the fingerprint will also be used to authorize payments within the app. Furthermore, the bank had already confirmed its support to Apple Pay in January 2015.
The bank seems to be well-placed to address the growing demand for mobile payments. The key to the bank’s success would be customer adoption. A research from Telecompaper shows that 44% of the users in the Netherlands were not interested in mobile payments. This number is higher than those who were keen to use mobile payments (31%).
Europeans are increasingly embracing contactless payments. Javier Perez, President of MasterCard Europe, said, “The Netherlands is a great example by being the quickest-growing contactless country in Europe, reaching one million transactions per month; in Q4 2014, the number of contactless transactions was eight times more than in the second quarter of the same year!”