By Desiree Montealegre, DGDW Panel Moderator
A special interview with Jordi Guaus, Head of Mobile Payments at CaixaBank and Chairman of the Mobey Forum. Jordi will participate in the Mobile Banking panel during the Doing Good Doing Well conference.
Desiree Montealegre (DM): What value does CaixaBank’s new NFC mobile payments service provide to its users? Who can use the system?
Jordi Guaus (JG): One of the main values that mobile contactless payments offer for the end-users is the convenience itself – the service is easy to use, it’s quick and it’s secure, so a comprehensive package of making a payment conveniently. During recent times, the mobile has become an essential device in our lives, therefore it makes perfect sense to include or add new features, such as payments, couponing, identity, etc. as we tend to carry our mobile devices with us, everywhere we go. Also, it is likely that one forgets his/her wallet at home but not their mobile device. So, why not try to include the wallet within the mobile device as well.
CaixaBank mobile NFC payments service is open to all CaixaBank customers and in order to benefit from this service, one must be a customer of Movistar, Vodafone or Orange and they must also an NFC compatible mobile device. Initially, the service is only available for Android devices but we aim to extend this service to other mobile operating systems, such as Windows Mobile, etc.
DM: What other uses does the mobile NFC platform have besides commercial payments?
JG: CaixaBank believes that mobile payments are not just about payments and that the mobile payments are about a new user experience when acquiring goods and services. The new paradigm is that through one device, one can access all the services but in a variety of different ways. It’s about the pre-payment experience, the payment and the post-payment experience. It’s about searching for information, receiving promotions and discounts, comparing prices and features, paying, and receiving information about new products and services while enjoying existing ones. Having said that, we are currently at the first stage/level of mobile payments services, (i.e. developing the payment feature) and that the other services will be offered in the near future
DM: When does CaixaBank expect mass adoption of its NFC mobile payments system and how does it plan to deploy the necessary infrastructure and network changes involved?
JG: There are some key factors for mass adoption. Firstly, the capacity to reach customers. With the current agreement with the 3 main Mobile Network Operators in Spain, CaixaBank can offer the service to 80% of its customers which is more than a good market share. The issuing infrastructure for downloading the card on the mobile has been developed as well. Secondly, the availability of the acceptance network, in other words, shops where customers can pay using the NFC technology. Today, there are more than 300.000 contactless point-of-sales in Spain which are compliant with NFC mobile payments and the deployment of more point-of-sales is being carried out on a priority basis.
As for the availability of compliant equipment (i.e. NFC enabled handsets and NFC compatible SIMs), the availability of NFC handsets is currently quite good as most of the new Android based mobile devices are NFC enabled.
Based on the 3 factors outlined above, it can be stated that over the course of the next 3 years, NFC mobile payments services will be widely adopted in Spain.
DM: What security guarantees does CaixaBank provide for this service?
JG: The service is defined following the EMV (Europay, Mastercard, Visa) standard, which means that NFC mobile payments have the same security as a plastic chip card transaction. In addition, CaixaProtect, the card service that protects our customers from fraud or theft will also apply to the cards downloaded on the mobile device.
DM: How can its comprehensive network with telecommunications and other payment service providers contribute to a greater degree of financial inclusion in the region?
JG: Spain is a developed country and the penetration of financial services is considerably high here. Almost everyone has a bank account so the approach is quite different here as one would witness in emerging markets. While in emerging markets, mobile is an excellent tool to bank the unbanked, in the case of developed markets, mobile is considered to be an ideal tool to offer value added financial services. Considering this scenario, in the case of Spain, we see mobile financial services as a good tool to offer better services to our customers, while to cover the upcoming special needs of our valued customers.
At this point, I would like to highlight that CaixaBank has a huge commitment with society and a significant part of the revenue of CaixaBank is invested back within the society in welfare projects through CaixaBank Foundation. The budget of CaixaBank Foundation for 2014 is 500 million euro and a significant part of the budget is focused on promoting the social inclusion of the most disadvantaged sectors, in order to provide them with a better future. With this in mind, we believe that mobile contactless payments can provide us with an excellent opportunity to enhance the service we offer to individuals with disabilities, such as individuals with visual impairment, or with reduce mobility, etc. For those individuals, we believe, it’s much easier to pay or to carry out a cash withdraw using a mobile than using a standard plastic card. Therefore, convenience and usability are the key points which we believe can benefit all customers but especially those with physical disabilities.
This approach perfectly aligns with the vision of Corporate Responsibility at CaixaBank that consists of acting in line with the values of leadership, trust and social commitment. This translates into a system of efficient management that is sustainable in the long term, guaranteeing solvency and including the protection of the environment and the social impact of its operations.
DM: Does CaixaBank plan on developing this system in other countries? What are the challenges involved?
JG: Currently, CaixaBank only operates within Spain. In terms of international banking, CaixaBank has representative offices and international branches focused on supporting international growth of our customers. Additionally, CaixaBank has international investments in other financial groups like Bank of East Asia in China and Hong Kong, Erste Group in Eastern Europe, and Inbursa in Mexico. With these groups we develop a partnership model and we are sharing our “know-how” of mobile contactless payments with our partners. Nevertheless, the decision on developing the commercial NFC service in their countries depends on them.
DM: What other innovations has CaixaBank implemented in mobile technology and how does it expect to sustain its leadership in this market?
JG: We have been active within the mobile financial services arena since the year 2000. Since then, we have been focusing hard on usability and trying to make it easy for our customers to access and use our services. This is the reason why we have developed more than 70 different mobile applications (both financial and non financial ones) and to date, we are the only bank with our own App store for downloading these Apps. Needless to mention that those Apps are also available through the official App-stores (i.e. Google Play, Apple Appstore, etc.).
Apart from standard financial services related Apps, I can highlight the stock market app, the bill payment app, the tailor made card application request, the augmented reality branch and ATM searcher, etc. Thanks to this innovative strategy, we are the leader in Spain in Mobile Financial Services and we were awarded the most world’s most innovative bank at the 2013 Global Banking Innovation Awards last November in Denver, USA, organized by the Bank Administration Institute (BAI) and Finacle. Caixabank also won the same award in the year 2011.
Furthermore, innovation is one of the keys of our Corporate Responsibility strategy that implies to all areas of our institution. For instance, a recent Forrester’s report placed CaixaBank’s mobile banking service as the best of Europe and second in the world.
Finally, in order to sustain this position, we are constantly adding new features, improving usability and developing new services such as mobile contactless payments.
Interested in learning more about the future of mobile payments? Join more than 600 participants and buy your ticket today! #IESEDGDW
Are you a student? Please contact the DGDW team for the student discount