NFC is fast being employed all across the world as the technology for cashless payments, but not all of them seem to be well-thought out. PVR Cinemas, one of India’s largest chains of multi-screen movie theaters has introduced an NFC-based mobile payment system across its branches in the country. The system works in tandem with the recently released Blackberry Z10 and Q10, which are touted as being RIM’s bold stroke to capture lost customers. Customers would have to download the NFC-based application from PVR and install it. They won’t be able to access their bank accounts directly, but will be required to top up their PVR-only accounts. So every time they swipe their phones at NFC kiosks at any of the PVR branches, money will be deducted from this prepaid account.
The question is – would you call this an effective way of working with NFC for swift, mobile transactions? There are a couple of problems with this system, the main one being that patrons will have to make sure that they top up their PVR accounts before they pay for movie tickets. This could have been done away with, if the app could have been linked to the patrons’ credit cards or bank accounts (with full security protocol, of course); unfortunately, what might have been a one-step process, is in this case a two-step process.
Another obvious problem, of course, is that the system currently works only with Blackberry’s latest devices. Although, PVR has stated its intentions of releasing apps for the iOS and Android markets as well, the delay in release could scupper PVR’s chances of popularizing its NFC payment system. India’s smartphone market is currently dominated by Samsung with 38.8 percent, while Apple is in second spot with 15.2 percent. Obviously, it’s a mistake not to make NFC payments available to this significant chunk of the smartphone-savvy population. PVR Cinemas is, in a sense, launching its NFC payment system on the back of the hope that Blackberry’s new devices will do as well as expected, and considering the current market scenario, that is probably not the wisest decision. Their only hope of making the mobile payment system a success lies is quickly releasing the iOS and Android apps, and capturing the rest of the market.
(Image used for representational purposes only)