SFR is set to launch a contactless payment card with MasterCard in October, part of a wider mobile payments strategy for France’s second-largest mobile operator that will also involve offering NFC-based SIM cards to its subscribers early in 2013.
The announcement of the pre-paid SFR Paycard is the result of a partnership between the French operator and MasterCard in July this year. The credit card firm has set up a number of similar partnerships with mobile operators in Europe, including Deutsche Telekom and Everything Everywhere, which is co-owned by Orange and Deutsche Telekom.
The new card will enable SFR subscribers to make payments of up to EUR20 at POS terminals that are enabled with MasterCard’s Paypass contactless technology in France and elsewhere. Subscribers can also make cash withdrawals at ATMs using the card, both at home and internationally.
SFR’s announcement that it will offer NFC-based SIMs to its subscribers in early 2013 follows a similar proposal by the country’s market leader Orange earlier in the summer. The two operators, along with rivals Bouygues Telecom and NRJ Mobile, are also partners in Cityzi, a mobile payment service, that sells NFC handsets to subscribers.
SFR subscribers must pay a EUR15 annual fee for the new pre-paid card. They are not required to open a bank account for the card and can add funds to it via credit card, bank transfer or cash. There is no charge for topping up the card. Subscribers can also transfer funds between SFR cards, although this carries a EUR1 charge.
SFR cardholders can download an iOS or Android app or use SMS to monitor their transactions such as payments, withdrawals or reloading of funds.
SFR is not alone in having its own payments card. The MasterCard partnership with Deutsche Telekom also involves issuing a card in Germany later this year that is co-branded by the two companies.
MasterCard rival Visa Europe has also tied up alliances with mobile operators, including Vodafone.