La Caixa to Launch M-Payments Service in Spain (Dec. 17, 2013)
La Caixa, the Barcelona, Spain-based financial institution, has announced the launch of an NFC-based mobile payments service in partnership with Telefónica, Vodafone, Orange and Visa Europe, enabling the bank’s customers to combine all of their payment cards on their mobile devices and make purchases at merchants equipped with contactless POS terminals.
The service will begin in January 2014 for customers of the three mobile operators who frequently make contactless card payments, with full rollout scheduled for February. Support from the country’s three largest mobile operators translates to a mobile payment service instantly available to a large audience, with Telefónica, Vodafone and Orange—also the trio behind the Weve mobile wallet—representing more than 80 percent of the Spanish mobile phone market, according to an announcement.
Customers’ payment card data—prepaid, debit and credit—is encrypted and stored on the mobile device’s NFC SIM card. Customers do not need to enter a PIN for purchases under EUR 20 (US$27.51), but they may configure the service to require a PIN for all contactless purchases.
Last summer, the European Commission approved a mobile commerce partnership between Telefónica, CaixaBank and Santander, thus paving the way for joint development of “business opportunities based on the latest mobile and communication technologies.”