Forget cash or debit cards, contactless mobile payments coming to Brunei in 2019

by Haadi Bakar
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Starting next year, Bruneians will be able to make payments simply by waving their smartphones at a retail store’s point-of-sale (POS) system, thanks to a new mobile wallet developed by BIBD.

The new BIBD NEXGEN Wallet will use NFC (Near-Field Communications), a wireless technology that enables data transfers between two NFC-enabled devices, and that BIBD will be the first bank in Brunei to extend this service to its customers.

Unlike QuickPay, which requires customers to scan QR codes with their phone camera and type in the amount to pay on the BIBD Mobile app, NFC transactions are much quicker – customers simply hold their NFC-enabled phone near the merchant’s POS terminal, input their pin and the transaction is done in seconds, even without an internet connection.

The BIBD NEXGEN wallet will be rolled out in January as part of a software update on the bank’s existing BIBD Mobile app. 

For now, the system will only work with NFC-equipped Android phones, though BIBD has confirmed it will open up to other e-wallet and digital payment solutions such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Image courtesy of Bizbrunei

BIBD said the NEXGEN Wallet is just the latest cashless payment solution the bank is rolling out as part of its ongoing digital banking initiative that aims to de-cash the economy.

“We want more consumers and businesses in Brunei to make transactions digitally,” said Hjh Nurul Akmar Hj Jaafar, BIBD’s Head of Retail Banking, adding that “contactless” payments are already making waves in many developed countries.

“You can finally leave your wallet behind and just use your phone to buy groceries or pay your bills,” she added.

The senior banker said 95 per cent of BIBD merchants’ POS systems are NFC ready. BIBD customers can also make contactless payments abroad where NFC-enabled terminals are available.

Back in August, BIBD introduced its first peer-to-peer mobile payment service QuickPay and gave its merchants unique QR codes for customers to make payments over the counter with their phones.

To date, close to 200 merchants have signed up for the QuickPay service.

The Bank also forged an alliance early this year with local telco Progresif Cellular to co-develop the Progresif PAY mobile wallet.

BIBD’s Chief Operating Officer Dr Gyorgy Ladics said that the bank is continously looking at other breakthrough technologies to enhance the customers’ banking experience, such as artificial intelligence, biometrics and augmented reality.

BIBD is the largest financial institution in Brunei, leading the market in terms of assets, financings and deposits. It has the largest network of branches and ATMs spread across the sultanate.

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