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German travellers to pay by NFC

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AFTER a 10-month field trial, near field communication (NFC) technology is set to be commercially deployed within the public transport system of the German city of Hanau.

The system is a culmination of a project developed by Nokia, Royal Philips Electronics , Vodafone and the Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV), the regional public transport authority for the Region Frankfurt Rhine-Main in Germany. Nokia 3220 mobile phones with integrated NFC technology will be used as electronic bus tickets and act as loyalty cards for discounts at local retail outlets and attractions.

“Everyone of the approximately 95,000 residents in Hanau can now enjoy the ease and convenience of NFC for mobile ticketing in public transportation, simply with the swipe of their compatible phones,” the companies said.

“Most people have their mobile phone with them wherever they go, so the possibility to use the phone to conduct daily transactions, such as transport ticketing and access to services, adds great value for consumers. The NFC enabled Nokia 3220 mobile phones have been tested by 160 residents for use in the public bus system in the city of Hanau. At the end of the trial more than 90% of the trial participants considered this a positive, convenient system worth continuing.”

The NFC-enabled Nokia 3220 handsets are available from local Vodafone shops. Passengers simply hold their mobile phones close to the reading device to enter and disembark from a city bus in Hanau. At the end of the month, the customers will receive an invoice from the local public transport operator outlining all trips taken, and the costs, which are calculated using the best available fares at the time of travel.

A newly introduced local leisure card – the RMV-ErlebnisCard Hanau loyalty card – will also be incorporated into the NFC-enabled phones. This feature will enable mobile phones to receive discounts at RMV’s 14 selected retail partners in the area including restaurants, shops and local attractions.

“The results of the RMV trial clearly demonstrate that consumers like the simplicity of using NFC for secure payment and ticketing for public transportation in a real-city environment. As a key technology and market driver for NFC, all parties are extremely pleased to see the world’s first commercial rollout in Germany,” the companies continued.

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