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ICICI Bank introduces contactless mobile payment solution

ICICI Bank has introduced a contactless mobile payment solution, claimed to be the first in the country. The solution enables the bank’s credit and debit card customers to make in-store contactless payments by just waving their smartphones near an NFC-enabled merchant terminal. The solution is made available in the Bank’s ‘Pockets’ app and provides improved convenience of ‘Touch & Pay’ as customers are no longer required to carry physical card or cash to pay in stores. The bank developed the solution in-house using the Host Card Emulation (HCE) technology, which creates ‘virtual’ cards for ‘physical’ credit or debit cards (Visa/MasterCard) of the bank. The virtual card resides in the bank’s secure cloud server. Using the virtual cards, a 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. Rajiv Sabharwal, ED of the bank said the contactless mobile payment solution will allow cashless payments using just smartphones, thereby eliminating the need to carry cash or debit and credit cards. With India becoming the second largest market globally for mobile subscribers as well as smartphones, the bank expects this to be a big game changer in the Indian payment industry, as it will transform the smartphone into a virtual wallet.

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