Translation from original German article, English | Worldline magazine | interview Michael Kaup, Postbank Product Manager

Postbank offers customers secure mobile payments with the NFC solution from equensWorldline

When it comes to making payments, German customers still tend to be rather conservative. Nevertheless, an increasing number of smartphone users are coming to appreciate the benefits of mobile payment. But they can only be enticed by solutions that are user-friendly, simple, and secure.

One innovative company, Postbank, has been offering its customers cashless payments via Android smartphone and NFC technology since fall last year, a service that was implemented together with equensWorldline. Worldline mag asked Michael Kaup, Postbank Product Manager, about how the new solution works, its benefits, how it has been received, and its possible impact on the marketplace.

 

Interview

Worldline mag: Since September last year, your customers have been able to make contactless mobile payments worldwide. The linchpin of the system is the "Postbank Finanzassistent" banking app. What does this involve?

Michael Kaup: The "Postbank Finanzassistent" is the finance app where Postbank customers can do all their banking. Here, in addition to viewing transactions and balances for all their accounts, they can also easily and securely carry out all their day-to-day banking operations. As well as the usual applications of a banking app, Postbank customers can also find innovative functions, such as

  • Option to buy gift vouchers
  • Money request function
  • Transfer by voice
  • Fingerprint authorization of transfers
  • Budget management/monitoring (financial dashboard)
  • Option to view all (non-Postbank) accounts ("multi-bank compatibility" – Android)
  • And, since September 2017, contactless payment with a smartphone

 

Worldline mag: How can your customers use the service? What do they need to do?

Michael Kaup: Customers who already have a checking account at Postbank and a Postbank credit card simply download the app onto their smartphone and get a user ID, the Postbank ID, in online banking. In addition, customers need to set up mobile payment using BestSign to use their credit card on their smartphone.

Then just two clicks and the credit card is stored in the smartphone and ready for use.

Worldline mag: What do your customers benefit from most?

Our customers benefit from fast, convenient, and secure payments within the same app that they use to conduct their daily banking business. The ability to authorize mobile transactions via fingerprint and configure options for the payment process means that our customers can choose the right balance between ease of use and their personal sense of security for mobile payment.

And it is an innovative payment system, which will continue to be developed in the future.

Worldline mag: Is the service aimed at a specific target group?

Michael Kaup: Ultimately, the service is so adjustable that it can be individually adapted to suit every one of our customers. However, we are also aware that there are still many customers who prefer to pay cash. But that is absolutely fine. We do not want to force anything on anyone. Our customers should choose the path that is most convenient for them.

Worldline mag: What technology do you use to implement it?

Michael Kaup: We use the NFC (Near Field Communication) transmission standard for mobile payment, which has been available on our credit cards since 2012.

Worldline mag: You got a partner on board for the implementation. Why did you choose equensWorldline?

Michael Kaup: The decision was easy for us, after all, equensWorldline has been our credit card processor for a very long time and is therefore very familiar with the subject and the product, and also knows Postbank and the expectations of our customers.

Worldline mag: What were the specific technical challenges of integrating the finance app?

Michael Kaup: On the one hand, the technical challenge was integrating it into our own Postbank Finanzassistent app. We could certainly have brought the implementation of a white-label solution to market much faster, back when we first tested the process on the market, but it was important to us from the outset to offer our customers mobile payment in the familiar environment. No-one wants to remember and manage yet another set of log-in details.

On the other hand, we wanted to provide our customers with individual configuration options, and that meant that the implementation was extremely technically complex.

Worldline mag: How did the cooperation with equensWorldline work?

Michael Kaup: The cooperation generally ran smoothly and was very focused on finding solutions, so we were extremely satisfied.

Worldline mag: Your customers have been able to use the new service since September. To what extent have they used it to date?

Michael Kaup: It's a new way of paying and we need to show our customers the perks and benefits of using it. That's why we launched a campaign to coincide with the new service.

Overall, we are very satisfied and the usage is completely in line with our expectations.

Worldline mag: Has everything gone smoothly on the technical side so far?

Michael Kaup: To date, we have had no difficulties or problems. Everything is also running smoothly from the customer side so far.

Worldline mag: Have you had any feedback from customers yet?

Michael Kaup: Customer feedback has been very positive. Users are pleased that they can now make mobile payments via the Finanzassistent app.

Worldline mag: Have your expectations as a provider been met?

Michael Kaup: Yes, definitely.

We can certainly draw comparisons with the introduction of contactless payments with the Visa card. Everyone who tried it found it very helpful. The same applies to payment by smartphone: once customers have used it and experienced the benefits for themselves, they want to use it again.

Worldline mag: More and more providers are coming to market with similar solutions. What makes the quality of your service stand out?

Michael Kaup: The implementation in the "Postbank Finanzassistent" banking app, which customers were already familiar with, as well as the options for configuring the payment function are particular highlights. Our customers can also determine for themselves the amount from which smartphone transactions should be authorized by fingerprint or mobile PIN (theoretically even from €0, i.e. always). This offers additional security for customers, if they wish.

Worldline mag: To what extent can this new service set new standards for all payments in Germany?

Michael Kaup: I think that, in a few years, mobile payments with a smartphone will be part of our everyday lives, just like contactless payments by card are today. Ultimately, the systems that will become established are the ones that are easy and convenient for customers and that can be used openly and anywhere. Isolated solutions will not prevail in my opinion.

Worldline mag: Mr. Kaup, thank you for the interview.