HTC plans m-banking card for NFC phone

Taiwan phonemaker to launch co-branded card that will enable mobile payments in one of its NFC phone models, in partnership with banking and card companies, report says.

Taiwanese handset maker HTC wants to increase its foothold in the island's mobile banking space, via a partnership with a local bank and two card companies to drive mobile payments nationwide.

Taiwan's Central News Agency reported Sunday that HTC is scheduled to hold a joint news conference on Jun. 19 with Cathay United Bank, EasyCard and MasterCard to launch a co-branded card. This card is said to integrate the functions of a credit card and a contactless payment card into a micro-sized memory card that can be inserted into HTC's Incredible E smartphone to enable mobile payments nationwide, the report added. EasyCard is a Taiwanese smartcard network, where its cards are used in contactless payments for public transportation services and retail purchases among others.

While few near-field communications (NFC)-enabled phones have been introduced in Taiwan so far, demand for such handsets, such as Incredible E, are expected to hit 100,000 units this year in the island, as local carriers plan to promote NFC technology by building a standardized environment, the report noted.

HTC's move signals its intention to play a larger role in the promising mobile banking industry in the country, Central News Agency said.

In August last year, the handset maker signed an agreement with China UnionPay to launch its first NFC phone in China that offered mobile banking services through Taiwan's credit card network, the report said.

However, the article noted that unlike China UnionPay, Taiwanese financial services companies and banks had not yet jointly established a mechanism that allowed users to make mobile payments in different regions around the island. This prompted HTC to urge the Taiwanese government to develop a mobile payment platform by launching mobile banking services in some state-owned banks, to set an example for the private sector, it added.