China Mobile partners banks for NFC on Beijing buses

Under the partnership, telco's customers in the Chinese capital can visit stores to swap their SIM cards to new ones which can enable a link to their bank accounts.

Commuters will soon be able to pay for bus fares using their smartphones. (Source: TechWeb)

China's largest telco has partnered eight banks in China and payment network China UnionPay for Beijing bus commuters to pay their fares with near field communications (NFC) technology.

According to TechWeb on Thursday, China Mobile customers in Beijing are able to visit six designated stores by the telco to switch their SIM cards for new ones which will enable them to connect their phones with their bank accounts.

The telco also said in the report that testing for the payment of bus fares through mobile devices have completed and will soon be rolled out, but did not state an exact date.

In addition, the telco and the banks are already working with NFC-enabled handsets such as Samsung's Galaxy S4, the HTC One and certain Huawei and ZTE models to integrate the system.

By September, there will be 20 handset models that fully support the system, China Mobile said.

China Mobile and China UnionPay have previously signed an agreement with the Chengdu municipal government  to allow both companies to develop it into a model city for mobile commerce by deploying NFC terminals and touting mobile wallet business.

Industry watchers previously told ZDNet Asia thta NFC had not picked up as quickly as it should because it requires many players of the ecosystem to come together , but pointed out NFC is gaining a lot of traction in Asia due to high mobile adoption and market maturity. NFC payment security is still not on par with the rest of the industry, and it still generally lacks consumer confidence.