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    7-Eleven, MasterCard, Nokia Join Forces

    Trio will allow consumers to pay for items using their cell phones.

    DALLAS -- 7-Eleven Inc., MasterCard Worldwide and Nokia launched a six-month trial for consumers to pay for products using their cell phones, CardTechnology.com reported.

    MasterCard Worldwide will allow consumers to download a contactless payment application over the air to their mobile phones complying with Near Field Communication technology.

    MasterCard is selecting 500 subscribers of 7-Eleven's prepaid phone service, "Speak Out," and will send each a Nokia model 3220 phone equipped with an NFC chip, according to the report. The users then register with their banks to use the service. A MasterCard PayPass application, believed to be a prepaid debit service, will then be downloaded onto a secure chip embedded in the phones, which is connected to the handset's NFC chip.

    "A lot of people have their cell phones very handy," a 7-Eleven spokesperson told Card Technology. "We sell minutes. It [NFC] fits with our business. It also fits very well with our business how quickly people can get in and out of the store."

    MasterCard will use a software platform from Germany-based smart card company Giesecke & Devrient for the downloads of its PayPass application. G&D and Nokia plan to form a joint venture before the end of the year to launch a fee-based service for application downloads to NFC handsets.

    During the trial, users will technically be able to make purchases at any of the 32,000 merchant locations that accept PayPass cards and tokens worldwide, MasterCard said in the report. This includes 5,300 7-Eleven stores in the United States equipped with contactless readers since late 2005.

    In Dallas, hundreds of locations in 7-Eleven stores, McDonald's restaurants and other merchant outlets and entertainment venues accept PayPass and, in most cases, contactless payment applications from Visa International and American Express, according to Card Technology.

    7-Eleven Inc. launched its mobile phone service in early 2004 and sells a line of low-cost Nokia mobile phones at most of its stores, allowing users to top-up their airtime at all of its U.S. outlets.

    MasterCard, which is sending out text messages to thousands of 7-Eleven phone service subscribers in the Dallas area to try to recruit them for the trial, said it expects more than 500 users to sign up, the report stated. But the card organization will pay for only 500 NFC phones, the size of its study group.

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