China Merchants Bank has just announced this new mobile payments service for its customers.
China Merchants Bank has partnered with China Unicom, a wireless operator, to be able to offer mobile payments services to their subscribers using NFC technology.
The mobile wallet service will have its initial launch in Shanghai but will expand from there.
The companies announced their new agreement on Monday, and have made the service available right away to smartphone users with NFC technology in Shanghai. The news from China Unicom explained that subscribers to their services will now be able to use the SIM cards to link their smartphones with their accounts at China Merchants Bank. This will effectively convert their devices into a payment option that can be used at participating merchant locations.
The service relies on NFC technology to be read by Quick Pass point of sale systems from China UnionPay.
In order to register for the service, customers must head to their local China Unicom branches with their NFC technology enabled smartphones, so that they can have the devices linked to their bank accounts. The registration process is designed to be quick and easy, and from that point, customers can make purchases using the devices at any outlets that have the Quick Pass point of sale systems installed.
Among the merchants participating in this new NFC technology mobile wallet program are Dairy Queen, Starbucks, and Watsons. It will be the Shanghai customers and payment locations that will first offer this service. The companies intend to begin the service there before it will be rolled out to the rest of the country, said a secondary statement released by China Unicom.
The mobile operator company also mentioned that China UnionPay intends to boost the number of point of sale terminal units by 15 million by the end of this year. This is a massive expansion program and will have the mobile payments and NFC technology industries from around the world watching to monitor its successes.
At the moment, China Unicom is far from the only Chinese mobile operator that is working on a digital payments system. Back in June, one of its main rivals, China Mobile, made its own announcement regarding a partnership that it had formed with China UnionPay. This was to work together to allow their customers to make payments using their smartphones through NFC technology based mobile wallets and SIM cards linked to bank accounts.