German banks unveil mobile payment challenge

09 AUG 2018

Germany’s association of cooperative banks announced the majority of its institutions would launch smartphone wallet services in the coming days, weeks after Apple revealed it was following Google into the country’s mobile payments sector.

Members of Bundesverband der Deutschen Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken will be able to roll-out contactless payments using Mastercard or Visa digital token technology. It will be available on Android smartphones under the name VR BankingApp.

In a statement, the group said 85 per cent of its 915 member banks would be able to offer the service from 13 August. Users will be able to make contactless mobile payments at more than 500,000 point-of-sale terminals across Germany.

It added it would be the first banking group in the country to enable contactless mobile payments.

Customers of two banks, Volksbank Mittelhessen and VR Bank HessenLand, have been taking part in a pilot service since June, after an initial trial of the technology with staff members in December 2017.

Competition
Germany has traditionally proved a difficult market for payment companies with the vast majority of small transactions currently made using physical cash and major mobile wallet suppliers slow to offer payments services.

By the start of June neither Apple, Samsung or Google had launched their mobile wallets in the country despite every other major European market except Portugal having at least two of the three available.

However, over the last two months the country has been actively targeted. Google Pay was launched during June, while weeks later Apple announced Germany would be its next market for Apple Pay.

Earlier this year, Germany-based NFC payment technology company Wirecard expanded its contactless service to include wearables as it stepped-up its play in the market.   

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Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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