BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Local consumers will soon be able to make contactless payment or ‘tap and pay’ with BIBD’s latest digital cashless payment solution, which may soon also link consumers to international e-wallets such as Google Pay and Alipay .

On Friday, the bank announced that it will introduce the BIBD NEXGEN Wallet in January 2019. Utilising near field technology (NFC), BIBD will be the first bank in the sultanate to extend this service to its customers as part of its effort to de-cash the economy.

With NFC payments, BIBD customers can use their android devices at merchants via the BIBD NEXGEN Mobile app. There are currently around 1,500 NFC supported merchants in Brunei (contactless-enabled) and the number is expected to rise once the service rolls out. This can also be used at any contactless-enabled terminals at more than 30 million merchants worldwide.

However, the BIBD NEXGEN Wallet will only available for android, until further notice.

“Leading this digital initiative, [the bank] will be open to other wallet and payment solutions such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, and would gauge our further investments within this based on the public’s adoption to the cashless economy,” said BIBD in a statement.

BIBD’s Chief Operating Officer Dr Gyorgy Ladics said they are also looking into how BIBD can play a role in connecting with China’s WeChat Pay and Alipay, citing the need to accommodate to the increasing arrivals of Chinese tourists.

“If you look at WeChat Pay and Alipay, they are primarily servicing [Chinese] tourists. We also like to reach out on how BIBD can be a gateway to these payment [solutions],” he said.

“We also understand that the country [Brunei] is encouraging more [Chinese] tourists to come in and if those tourists come into Brunei, they have to find a way to pay and of course their preferred method is Alipay or WeChat pay.”

BIBD’s Chief Operating Officer, Dr Gyorgy Ladics, speaks to the media during a preview of the BIBD NEXGEN Wallet that will be launched January next year. Photo: Rasidah HAB/The Scoop

Chinese tourists topped air arrivals into Brunei in the first quarter of 2018 with 18,530 visitors. Royal Brunei Airlines already flies to six Chinese destinations, with plans to add two more by January.

To use the ‘tap and pay’ service, customers simply hold their NFC-enabled smartphone near the merchant’s NFC device, input their pin and the transaction is complete. However, customers’ android devices must have the NFC function available for it to work.

The wallet also offers an offline solution to enable payments, meaning customers can still make payments even where there is no internet access or of a smartphone is in flight mode.

Head of Retail Banking, Hjh Nurul Akmar Hj Md Jaafar, said the number of offline transactions is currently set at five transactions, but each transaction must not exceed $100.

The BIBD NEXGEN Wallet is just the latest product from the bank, which has been quick to swoop in on the demand for cashless payments by introducing several products — BIBD Quickpay for QR code payments, Virtual Mastercard, Mastercard Contactless and Visa payWave — which all fall under its NEXGEN platform.