Few if any of us ever leave home without our smartphones, and for good reason. These aren’t the Nokia 3310s of our childhood that were simply for texting, calling and playing Space Impact. These days, smartphones, feature phones, and even dumbphones have become our gateways to a wide range of services and information. BPI has long recognized this and has pioneered quite a number of internet and mobile banking solutions that we now enjoy. The most recent of which is BPI Mobile Wallet.

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Can you name 3 things that you can’t leave home without? In my case, it’s my wallet, keys and my phone. Heck, even if I had already left home and found that I had left home without my phone, I’d still rush back to get it – appointments be damned. I would think that the same is true for everybody, which is why BPI Mobile Wallet makes a lot of sense.

[one_half]”BPI Mobile Wallet is still in its pioneer stage, so only a limited number of customers and merchants will be able to try the program out.”[/one_half]

In essence, BPI Mobile Wallet transforms your phone and turns it into a virtual wallet that you can actually make purchases with. Simply tap your phone against a TAP terminal and that’s it! That means no more fumbling with bills and coins, no more receipts to be signed after making a credit card purchase, and no more “sir, may smaller bills po kayo?” from the cashier when you pay with anything more than a 100 peso bill.

But how does that work on your phone? BPI Mobile Wallet is an NFC-enabled service. NFC stands for Near-field Communication and is an extremely short range, high frequency means of communicating between devices. If your phone already has NFC, you can use it with the BPI Mobile Wallet app so you can start making purchases with a simple tap of your phone. You can also review your last 2 purchases using the BPI Mobile Wallet app, not to mention reload your BPI Mobile Wallet account with the BPI Express Mobile app. However, the list of phones that already have NFC built-in is still quite short.

Thankfully, BPI – being the innovator that it is – has developed a kit that allows you to add NFC functionality on your phone. Jake Alejo, Brand Manager for BPI Express Mobile, struck up a conversation with me and said that the kit essentially consists of a MicroSD card with an NFC chip built-in, as well as a booster that would amplify the signal and make it strong enough for a TAP terminal to pick it up. Initially, it will only be available for the Blackberry Bold 9780, Bold 9700 and Curve 8250, as well as the iPhone 4S running iOS 4 or 5. The version of the kit for the iPhone 4S will include a protective case that will do double duty by acting as a reader for the NFC-enabled MicroSD card.

Right now, the BPI Mobile Wallet is still in its pioneer stage, so only a limited number of customers and merchants will be able to try the program out. BPI customers who were lucky enough to be contacted regarding the program can start making BPI Mobile Wallet purchases at any of the Metro Manila Banapple and Serenitea branches, as well as selected Kenny Rogers, Seattleā€™s Best, Healthy Options, Fully Booked, Evita Peroni, and Mango branches.



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