Japanese parking lot operator Park 24 is allowing consumers to pay by placing their specially equipped mobile phones near self-checkout machines in a three-month test.
The phones carry a FeliCa contactless smart card chip from Sony Corp., which sends payment data via radio signals to readers. NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s largest provider of mobile phone service, is also participating in the test, allowing an unspecified number of subscribers to its i-mode mobile commerce service to use their phones to pay for parking at Park 24 lots. Sony and DoCoMo have created a joint venture called FeliCa Networks to promote the concept of mobile phone users paying for mostly low-value services with a wave of their handsets. The contactless Sony chip is also used in contactless transit cards in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore, and in Edy, a contactless stored value card that Sony and other companies have introduced in Japan.