ICICI Bank today unveiled a contactless mobile payment solution, which it claims to be first of its kind in India. As per ICICI, this payment solution enables its credit and debit customers make in-store contactless payments by just waving their smartphones near an NFC-enabled merchant terminal. This mobile payment solution has been launched today for the employees of the bank and will be available for its customers in the last week of March when the updated ‘Pockets’ application will be available on Google Play Store. An ICICI Bank credit and debit customer (VISA/Mastercard) with an NFC enabled smartphones of Android 4.4 OS & above will be able to use this solution.
An ICICI Bank customer is simply required to click on the Touch & Pay icon on the home screen of the ‘Pockets’ app in his/her smartphone and select the desired virtual credit / debit card. Once the merchant enters the amount to be charged, the customer can just wave the phone near the POS machine. A text on the phone as well as on the merchant’s terminal will confirm the transaction.
ICICI Bank is using Host Card Emulation (HCE) technology to bring forth this solution. The HCE technology creates ‘virtual’ cards for ‘physical’ credit or debit cards (Visa/MasterCard) of the Bank, as selected by the customer. The virtual card resides in the Bank’s secure cloud server. Using the virtual cards, an ICICI Bank customer can initiate electronic payments from NFC enabled smartphones by just waving his/her phone near a contactless merchant terminal. While the virtual card bears a different card number, the credit limit and expiry date remains same as the original physical card.
The solution offers enhanced security as the customer’s card details are stored virtually in the Bank’s secure cloud server and not on the customer’s mobile phone. Additionally, the display of the card on the smartphone shows only last four digits of the virtual card. Thus, even if a customer loses his/her mobile phone, he/she will not lose any confidential information about his/her original and virtual card. Further, for each payment via the virtual card, a one-time unique token number is created by the Bank’s server, which is encrypted and sent to the merchant’s terminal, without disclosing any information of the card. ICICI Bank has developed this platform in-house, based on the HCE.
With India becoming the second largest market globally for mobile subscribers as well as smartphones, we expect this to be a big game changer in the Indian payment industry, as it will transform the smartphone into a virtual wallet. The key advantages of the solution are speed, simplicity and security. The speed of transactions will add momentum to cashless payments. At the same time, it will herald a shift from low value cash payments to electronic payments at physical stores including quick service restaurants and shopping marts where fast transactions are much required. Also, the level of security is higher since the card details are not shared during the transaction process” said Rajiv Sabharwal, executive director, ICICI Bank.