Is the wallet you’re carrying in your back pocket or handbag today getting too bulky? StarHub, Singapore’s second largest info-communications provider, thinks so. The company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with NTT DOCOMO, one of Japan’s mobile communications provider, to explore a mobile wallet concept similar to Japan’s Osaifu-Keitai wallet solution for a near future implementation in Singapore.
Osaifu-Keitai means “mobile wallet” in Japanese. It is a trademark of NTT DOCOMO, which launched this service in July 2004, whereby the mobile phone is integrated with a contactless chip to offer mobile payment and transaction services, including the ability to have the phone act as an identity card, fare card for bus and train rides, and a credit and loyalty card. This mobile wallet application is also supported by other mobile service providers and accepted at more than 640,000 stores, making it the standard for mobile wallet services in Japan.
StarHub has been actively following the trends and developments in mobile walleting, with the view of enhancing its current mobile offerings to customers. The mobile wallet can provide more convenient services to the user than physical smart cards. For example, it can automatically provide the latest information such as loyalty points. It can also be used as a ticket for an event such as a movie or concert, by downloading an electronic ticket. The user can choose to install multiple applications, each equivalent to a different card, and carry with him at all times in a mobile phone.
Currently, StarHub is in talks with EZ-Link to explore the integration of the ez-link purse in the mobile wallet service. The ez-link purse is a contactless smart chip with a prepaid function that is able to transact quick, secure and exact payments at over 20,000 readers and terminals on Singapore’s MRT, LRT, public buses and at retail locations such as McDonalds Restaurants and 7-Eleven stores across the nation.