Whiz had worked successfully with First Investment Bank AD in the past - we had renovated their mobile banking app for Android and iOS and the results were excellent. This time around, we had an even more challenging project ahead of us. Our goal was to give the app’s users the opportunity to use their smartphone for making contactless payments with a digital card at a POS terminal. We were about to build a functionality which is based on NFC and is entirely new for Bulgaria. The near field communication technology (NFC) enables the exchange of data between two electronic devices when they are placed close together, no more than 4 centimeters apart. The contactless payment service had to work quickly and reliably and to give maximum convenience to users when shopping. It also had to be easy to use and to manage.
Mobile Application

NFC Digital Wallet


We have a leading part in the development of the most advanced functionality for a mobile banking app in Bulgaria - the setup of a digital card and the payment with it via NFC using an Android smartphone.





We had already built a feature for making bank transfers for the mobile banking app of First Investment Bank AD and now we were moving to the next level - contactless payments via smartphone. The teams of Whiz and the bank had established good communication and cooperation and this made our initial work meetings highly productive.

We head clear goals and got down to work. Our team analyzed leading mobile apps using NFC and their strongest competitors in detail. Our in-depth research inspired us for many ideas and we chose the best ones. The project action plan was clear and our designers and programmers began working their magic.

A Totally Innovative Feature
On our shoulders we carried the huge responsibility of developing the first smartphone service for payments via NFC in Bulgaria. We took full advantage of our diverse experience in building mobile app features to make it completely reliable. Full integration with the NFC technology, which is now an integral part of smart mobile devices, was required and we enabled it. Our team worked meticulously on the UX design which makes the service incredibly easy to use, no matter if the user is familiar with near field communication or not. We had a clear concept for the new feature’s design and created it with great inspiration and skill. The result was awesome. Our rigorous tests showed us how to make the new feature absolutely perfect and we did. It was ready for use.

We integrated the new service for contactless payments into the Android app of Fibank and it became accessible to all of its existing and new users. They simply have to choose “Pay via NFC” in the menu to make the transaction. It’s easy to find the service thanks to its icon with a smartphone emitting waves, which our designers created, even if you are in a hurry to make a purchase at the store’s checkout counter.

Digital Cards Replacing the Traditional Ones
The process of issuing a digital card, which is to be used for making contactless payments via smartphone, is simple. Users can make the card application directly via the mobile app. There is no need to visit a branch of the bank and fill out a paper form. When users decide to pay via NFC for the first time, they are invited to get a digital card. To apply for one, they have to complete a set of steps. This is easy, since they are “led by the hand” the whole time.

Upon tapping on the digital card application button, the technical requirements for using the service appear (the smartphone must be approved and certified by MasterCard and have Android 4.4 or a later version of the operating system). After accepting the terms of use, customers can choose their checking account which the digital card will be lined to. They can get such a card for any of their accounts, which are already linked to a traditional debit or credit card. Users can also name their debit and credit digital cards to recognize them more easily. Once the application has been approved, customers receive a notification that the digital card is ready and can be used and managed via the app. It can be found in the “Cards” section of the application.

We created user-friendly settings for the management of digital cards and organized them in a convenient menu. Users can activate and deactivate their cards and change their names easily and quickly. Our team included a special setting for the PIN code, which is required when mobile payments above a set limit are made, to give customers the highest level of security. They receive their PIN code at the time of creating their digital card and can change it directly via the menu in the same simple way they change their email password, for instance.

Quick and Reliable Payments via NFC
How do you make a contactless payment? This is the easiest part. After activating and setting up their digital card (which takes only a few minutes), customers can start using it. We designed the interface so that they receive short instruction on how to make the payment. When you choose the service “Pay via NFC”, a short message inviting you to bring your smartphone close to the POS terminal equipped with NFC technology appears on the screen. The payment (the data exchange between the two devices) takes only a few seconds. You will receive a confirmation that the transaction has been completed successfully. It will include the amount of money paid, the currency and the time and date of the mobile payment. The process is completed when you tap on the “Confirm” button.

Contactless NFC payments are not only quick and easy to make, but also extremely secure. The data is stored in a cloud structure and not on a physical medium. The cloud secure element’s architecture is created to withstand both software and hardware attacks. The other advantage of the NFC technology is that it uses up an incomparably small amount of energy. This enables people to make a large number of payments without draining their smartphone’s battery.

Making Contactless Payments Offline
We gave the users of Fibank’s mobile banking app the opportunity to make up to 10 mobile payments offline for maximum convenience. When the smartphone is connected to the internet again, the system for offline transactions is recharged automatically. We created a special indicator for it - a flask with the service’s icon. Just like computer game and battery indicators, the flask shows much many offline payments are left before the limit is reached. When users reach this limit, they simply need to connect to the internet. Thanks to the indicator, the risk of the smartphone losing its mobile payment functionality even for a short while is practically eliminated.

Always Full Control Over Payments
We ensured that managing digital card payments will be easy and secure. Users have direct access to the information about the card and to the details on the payments made with it. In the “Cards” section of the mobile app, they can check the digital card’s status and the balance on the account, which it is linked to. In the “Authorizations” section, users can review thoroughly all digital card transactions, which are arranged in chronological order starting from the most recent.

Since the NFC payment service is entirely new to Bulgaria, we prepared a short tutorial for its use and included in the Fibank mobile app. Users can access it directly with the shake gesture. The tutorial presents graphically the steps for creating, activating and managing a digital card and those for making contactless payments with it. Each image comes with short and clear instructions which users have to follow.

The large retail chains, banks, institutions and many stores and boutiques now have POS terminals equipped with NFC. The customers of First Investment Bank can make secure payments in seconds, using only their smartphone, anytime anywhere. They already have a digital wallet which can replace the traditional one.


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