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City Metro riders can pay fare by swiping phone at turnstiles

CHINA Mobile users in Shanghai can now use their mobile phones to pay Metro fares by directly swiping the phones at turnstiles thanks to upgraded technology, the country's top mobile carrier said today.

The new services include a mobile application featuring mobile payment and finance services, according to service providers such as China Mobile, Shanghai Metro and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank.

The technology also means people can pay bills in 20,000 stores in Shanghai including Xujiahui and Nanjing Road West. To protect consumers, users will be limited to purchases of 1,000 yuan (US$164) a day with their phones. That will limit losses in case people lose their phones.

"It's the first time people will have 3-in-1 services including bank card, mobile payment and Metro payment," said China Mobile in a statement.

China Mobile’s local branch, Shanghai Mobile, provided similar services for a short time during the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. It was discontinued for technology upgrades to comply with bank networks’ higher security levels.

Consumers can access the service by replacing their SIM cards with those that feature radio frequency identification technology (NFC) at Shanghai Mobile's outlets if they have NFC phones. (iPhone does not support NFC at present).

Users can enjoy a 10 percent discount off Metro services after payments reach 70 yuan a month through the new service. It also offers users an easy method for transferring money and checking amounts paid by phone.

By 2015, more than half of smartphones will feature NFC function, according to Gartner, a US-based research firm.

That means greater potential for mobile payments in China, which has more than 1.2 billion mobile phone users, analysts said.


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