Russian mobile technology developer i-Free plans to expand the Near Field Communication-based payment services offered by Tinkoff Credit Systems, or TCS Bank.
Consumers in Cheboksary and Vologda are currently testing the purchase of transportation cards through the i-Free wallet app and making payments by tapping their smartphones on a terminal when boarding trains, i-Free announced Nov. 18. The rollout will include nine other cities in the coming months.
I-Free's "application purse" within the mobile wallet supports one-click purchases of tickets.
In addition to the transportation card capabilities, i-Free also offers consumers prepaid deals and coupons that consumers can purchase through the app and redeem through the bank wallet.
I-Free is partnering with Russian prepaid deal services provider KupiKupon to allow consumers to pay for deals with a stored bank card.
"We are striving to make the everyday usage of NFC smartphones not only useful and convenient, but fun as well," i-Free CEO Kirill Gorynya states in a press release.
Consumers will appreciate the convenience of a mobile wallet on a smartphone because it eliminates the need to "carry multiple cards, wait in line to buy a ticket, or hoard a pile of paper coupons," Gorynya adds.
I-Free's app currently works with embedded secure elements in eight NFC phone models produced by HTC and Philips. Through future deals with phone makers, the app will come pre-loaded on more handsets, i-Free says.
Tinkoff Credit Systems first launched its wallet for Russian consumers with its virtual MasterCard PayPass card last summer. The bank, a credit card issuer and online retail financial services provider, called its mobile wallet the first of its kind in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
As an incentive for Russian consumers to try the mobile wallet, TCS Bank says it is offering 150 rubles (U.S. $4.60) on the MasterCard PayPass card to the first 1,000 users.