Snapper, whose travel and purchase stored-value card is used widely in Wellington, has launched a mobile phone-based electronic wallet, in cooperation with 2degrees.
Known as Touch2Pay, it lets Wellingtonians pay their bus and taxi fares by holding their suitably equipped smartphone to a Snapper reader. Touch2Pay can also be used for purchases in Snapper-equipped retail outlets.
The mid-range LG Optimus Net smartphone is the first Touch2Pay-capable handset. The Android-based phone is pre-programmed with a special-purpose Snapper app, which communicates with an applet in the SIM card. Other Snapper-equipped handsets will be released later this year “across a range of price-points”, says 2degrees.
Touch2Pay uses near-field communications (NFC) contactless technology and has beaten a rival plan by Telecom, Westpac and Auckland Transport to equip Aucklanders to pay for bus, train and ferry trips in a similar way using NFC-equipped Telecom XT mobiles. This has only just begun its trial phase.
The Touch2Pay account is maintained separately from the regular mobile account and can be topped up from the phone using a credit card or Visa debit card or at a retailer’s Snapper terminal, as with regular Snapper cards.
Value can also be transferred from the phone to another Snapper card, so a household with several cards can keep them all topped up.