Citibank isn’t the first to launch a digital wallet, but when it goes live its international reach and the breadth of services for Citi Pay will exceed that of most of its rivals.
Citi Pay enables online, in-app and in-store payment through Host Card Emulation (HCE), enabling secure card payments originating within Citi’s mobile app, including Near Field Communication for Android devices, Citi said in a Nov. 10 press release.
Citi Pay will be available in Singapore, Australia and Mexico within coming weeks and in early 2017 it will launch in the U.S., extending a robust combination of digital payment services to more than 100 million customers in 19 countries, which analysts say is the largest footprint for any other digital wallet. When the service become fully available over the next year, customers can use it to pay in 33 countries, Citi said.
“The biggest difference between Citi Pay and others that have already launched so far is this global aspect and the fact that Citi Pay will be available in-store, in-app and online from the start, whereas most other HCE-based digital wallets started with in-store payment capabilities only,” said Zil Bareisis, a senior editor with Celent.
Citi is leveraging Mastercard’s Masterpass digital payment technology to enable online and in-app transactions and a Citi spokesperson said consumers with Citi-issued Visa cards also will be able to use all of Citi Wallet’s features.
Citi earlier enabled Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay, and while Apple Pay users’ payment process won’t change, but with Citi Pay, Android users will gain a streamlined approach for contactless payments, Citi said.
Canada’s RBC and Capital One were among the first to launch HCE-enabled digital wallets. Wells Fargo followed with its own HCE-powered digital wallets and more banks—including small and midsize institutions—are expected to follow in the next few years, analysts say.