On 17th December 2013, Spanish bank La Caixa announced the launch of an NFC based mobile payments system through a partnership with Visa Europe, and the largest mobile network operators in the country – Vodafone, Telefonica and Orange. 80% of the Spanish market is held by these three giants.
Initially it had planned a soft launch early in 2014. The bank however said it now wants a fully commercial service available in time for the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (24-27 February, 2014). Selected customers will be able to use the service in January. It will then be fully rolled out in February 2014, in time for the Mobile World Congress.
What the partnership means:
At the moment, over 300,000 contactless POS terminals are present in Spain available for La Caixa users.
Through this they can buy goods for up to $28. This can be done without entering the PIN.
For purchases of higher value via NFC, users will have to enter a PIN at Point of Sale.
Users can put all their La Caixa cards on their handsets, with the data stored, encrypted, on the NFC SIMs.
The la Caixa mobile payment service is covered by all of the bank’s card security guarantees. The CaixaProtect service provides users with full coverage for any improper use of its electronic payment methods.
According to the bank, around 100,000 Spaniards are expected to utilize the NFC based services by end of 2014.
'La Caixa has created a NFC mobile payment system that combines a convenient and easy to use service with the added attraction of a mobile application that will support all of a customer's cards on their mobile device, while also being protected by the strictest security guarantees for data storage and transactions, stated the bank.
La Caixa a leader in electronic banking with more than 12.5 Mn cards in circulation. Out of these 3 Mn are contactless-ready. This technology is also supported by over 50% of 'la Caixa' POS terminals (over 110,000 out of a total of 200,000). La Caixa is first bank in the world to incorporate contactless technology in its cash machines. Its ATM network is the largest in Spain with over 10,000 machines.