Amsterdam backed by Japan when it pioneered NFC…

Oh look - it's a 2006 Nokia NFC phone...

The Dutch soccer team may not have lived up to their country’s expectations when they lost Spain in the 2010 FIFA World Cup final in South Africa, but back home in Amsterdam the city knows how to take the ball and run with it when it comes to contactless.

Although the Netherlands’ capital city is not one of Europe’s major adopters of contactless, it has certainly shown a strong interest in the future of the technology.

Back in 2006, Japanese credit card giant JCB launched Mobile J/Speedy, an NFC payment pilot which enabled 100 of its cardholders to use a Nokia phone equipped with an NFC chip from NXP to make payments at retail outlets in and around the city’s World Trade Center. Participants could pay at selected PaySquare merchants by holding the phone to ViVOtech’s contactless NFC readers, which were attached to CCV’s payment terminals. Cell phone network operator KPN installed the application and personalized the phones. The pilot’s first transaction was made at Japanese restaurant Sushi Time.

At the time of the launch, JCB claimed the Amsterdam trial was Europe’s first contactless international credit payment scheme using a cell phone with an NFC chip.

The firm carried out a further pilot of its J/Speedy service in 2008, again with a small number of customers using Nokia NFC handsets.

Contactless technology is also being embraced by public transport operators in the capital and throughout the rest of the country. Trans Link Systems was established by the five largest Dutch public transport companies – Dutch Rail NS, bus company Connexxion and the municipal transport companies RET from Rotterdam, HTM from The Hague and Amsterdam’s GVB –  to implement a single payment system.

The technology is also in action for international travel at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, where it is being used for frequent traveler schemes on airlines such as Continental (IP@SS for people traveling between Newark, US, and Schiphol) and Air France (frequent flyer program between Paris Charles de Gaulle and Schiphol). In addition to improving passenger flow through the city’s airport, these contactless cards could also be used for applications such as car parking and car hire.

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