Switzerland's three operators have chosen NFC to drive a new mobile payments platform for Android handsets, which allows consumers to make payments, gain loyalty points and open doors at workplaces.
Tapit was developed by Swisscom, which is the first operator to launch the service, and supports Visa payment cards issued by Cornèrcard.
Each transaction is completed in less than two seconds, with customers only required to enter a PIN or password if the purchase value is greater than €32. A customer's details are encrypted on the SIM card.
The service can be used in the more than 50,000 shops across Switzerland that accept mobile payments. Orange and Sunrise customers will be able to use Tapit later this year. Meanwhile, retailer the Coop will allow its customers to collect loyalty card points using Tapit from the middle of next year.
Swisscom has also worked with Legic Identsystems and Siemens to develop an employee entry badge feature, which the operator has been testing in its own head office. The operator said the shared platform had been developed because of the "sharp increase" in NFC compatible smartphones and shop terminals.
The launch of Tapit will bolster advocates of mobile payments via the secure element of the SIM card. The development of Host Card Emulation (HCE), which securely hosts payment details in the cloud rather than on the SIM, has been seen as a threat to traditional NFC. Motorola Solutions claimed manufacturers were moving away from building NFC into their products.
However, advocates of NFC payments said there are issues with HCE. Earlier this year, the SIMAlliance criticised HCE payments as being an unsecure and immature method of making payments.