Mobile money to transform Turkish transport and US retail

Turkish operator Turkcell and SIM card and mobile security solutions provider Gemalto have each found themselves at the hearts of two mobile payment projects that promise to transform the transport and retail sectors in Turkey and the USA respectively.

Turkey’s Turkcell has integrated the country’s public transport card Urfakart into its mobile wallet solution.  As a result, customers using Turkcell Wallet are able to make contactless payments for transport services in the Sanliurfa province using their mobile phones. In addition, they can check and top up their Urfakart balances without having to go to a payment point.

The operator has been somewhat of a pioneer in the mobile payments space. It launched its wallet solution in October last year, which works on both smartphones and feature phones, and supports contactless payments on NFC-enabled phones. It has also struck deals with the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) to sell match tickets to fans via their mobiles across the country, and with local bank Akbank to introduce an NFC-based mobile wallet service incorporating location-based elements.

“We, as Turkcell, are leading the way in terms of mobile communication technologies that are not only reshaping the world but also changing the way of doing business in sectors such as transportation, finance, education and health,” said Turkcell general manager Sureyya Ciliv.

“Turkcell Wallet, which we introduced in October of 2012 as the world’s most advanced mobile wallet solution, is currently on the mobile phones of 1.2 million people. The Turkcell Wallet public transportation system is a first in Turkey and we hope that the 207 public transportation vehicles in Sanliurfa will set an example for other provinces to follow in the near future.”

Over in the US, the Merchant Customer Exchange – a body representing a group of retailers with the aim of setting up a standardised mobile commerce platform across the sector – has selected Gemalto to build its mobile wallet.

The MCX cited Gemalto’s expertise in mobile financial services and its track record of working with banks, governments, merchants and mobile operators as its reasons for selecting the firm.

The MCX wallet will be primarily barcode and cloud-based, the body said, and will run on Gemalto’s Allynis Mobile Payment platform.

Once deployed, the wallet will be accepted at all MCX members, a group of 35 retail firms including the likes of Walmart, Target, Sears, Gap and Shell. The merchants collectively operate more than 75,000 stores and process more than $1tn in payments annually, according to the MCX.

“Our work with [Gemalto] over the past months leaves little doubt that MCX will benefit from their considerable technical expertise,” said MCX senior executive Dodd Roberts.

“The calibre and scale of the merchant organizations behind MCX creates opportunity to elevate mobile payments,” Jack Jania, SVP at Gemalto added.

One comment

  1. Avatar Nirmal Choudhary 17/04/2013 @ 7:35 pm

    There are multiple entrants in mobile wallets like MCX, ISIS, google Wallet etc. Now end customers have multiple options to choose out these m-wallets similar to credit card offerings from multiple banks. As MCX already having well established partnerships with merchants & targeted for closed loop system. So, customer may have to keep one more wallet like MCX for other open loop transactions. Will this not be a challenge for MCX to increase its acceptance as it can be used only at MCX affiliated outlets? Also, how is MCX planning to develop the costly NFC ecosystem to make the MCX solution most viable to its customers?

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