A recent announcement in the prepaid payment technology world was that ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector bank, have collaborated with Tech Mahindra Limited, to launch a contactless payment service that is based on the Near Field Communications (NFC) technology. This innovative new payment service which has been named ‘Tap n Pay’ will allow anyone, including non-ICICI Bank account holders to make over the counter purchases, reducing dependency on cash.
The customer will be able to use their NFC enabled mobile phone at the merchant’s point of sale device to make payments. The new innovation is a pre-paid account that allows customers from any bank to register for it and can transfer money online from any account. Customers are also able to top up their ‘Tap n Pay’ accounts by sending an SMS.
Tech Mahindra managing director and chief executive CP Gurnani stated that “The synergies between the two partners (ICICI Bank and Tech Mahindra) will bring about a new payments ecosystem, parallel to, and yet in harmony with, the existing payment networks in the country,".
The service is currently a closed end service and not a universal payment method. The announcement stated that at the moment the new technology is only for large campuses at corporate offices. For example being used at canteens or to buy meal coupons. To me this is advantageous using it less as a universal card but for certain purposes at the start and then maybe expanding. An issue that can come around with universal tap like payment systems can be unwittingly paying for things you didn’t want to.
This was a problem in London, England. The London Underground has a barrier system were the majority of users swipe their Oyster card which has a set amount on, to get through. However, people often kept the Oyster card in their wallet to swipe and their wallet often already had a tap payment card; this meant that money would sometimes be debited off that card whilst trying to swipe through the barriers. This became a serious problem and announcements were having to be made on the Tannoy public speaker systems to warn customers.
This announcement shows the ongoing advances being made in the prepaid payments industry that seeks to increase payment efficiency and to many, signals the lack of need for physical cash. The increase in these types of innovation, many also believe could mean a lack of dependency in banks. Banks will have to come up with innovations of their own to help keep up with the changing times.
About the Author: Harry Kempe, a marketing intern at IIR USA, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. He is a recent graduate of Newcastle University who previously worked for EMAP Ltd. and WGSN as a marketing assistant on events such as the World Architecture Festival, World Retail Congress and Global Fashion Awards. He can be reached at hkempe@IIRUSA.com
Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!