By Tom Noda
Banking giant Citi and credit card operator Visa are hoping that contactless payment would take off soon in the country with the launch of Citibank Visa payWave — the country’s first contactless credit card.
Unveiled in Makati City on Thursday, Sept. 19, the new technology allows cardholders to simply wave their cards — in close proximity, within four centimeters — of a Visa payWave reader present in a Citi merchant partner’s store to pay for their goods.
But, in case with merchants that don’t have Visa payWave terminals, the card can still be used for traditional credit card payment transactions, where a buyer will be asked to swipe or dip the card in the terminal.
An antenna has been embedded into the credit card so that when it is waved in front of the Visa payWave reader, it securely transmits information to the terminal to make a purchase.
Among Citi’s first local partners are popular retailers Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Mercury Drug, Robinson?s Supermarket, Eastwood and Lucky China Cinemas and soon at Newport Cinemas and McDonald?s.
Ian Jamieson, Visa country manager in the Philippines and Guam, said contactless payments will spur the country?s evolution towards a cashless society.
?The launch of Visa payWave marks a tremendous step forward in transforming the Philippines into a modern, cashless society. Retailers will benefit from faster checkouts, reduced queuing and lowering cash handling costs,? Jamieson said.
Jamieson claimed that on average, Visa payWave transactions can be up to three times faster than cash payments, reducing queuing times for both cardholders and retailers and all with the added benefit that the Visa payWave card does not leave the cardholders? hand.
He added that Visa payWave cardholders will also have the convenience of making transactions without needing to sign for purchases below P2,000, but are given the option to collect the receipt. The card can also be used for any amount within one’s available credit line.
Citi country officer Batara Sianturi said the Citibank Visa payWave will be an option for one million Citibank credit card users in the Philippines and predicted that the technology will change the local landscape.
Bea Tan, consumer business manager for Citi Philippines, said she is confident that their cardholders will embrace the new technology.
?We understand our customers and know the demands on their time and how their lifestyles are changing. Our latest innovation will empower our clients to access the latest technology in credit card payments,? Tan said.
Jamieson cited Australia and Singapore as the two countries where the use of contactless payments are growing faster. And in the Philippines, Citibank thru Visa, is planning to further partnerships with merchants in the fast food, grocery, and convenience store business including famous food courts.