Airline to Introduce NFC App Following Successful Sticker Launch

May 3 2012

Scandinavian Airlines plans to introduce an NFC application for frequent flyers as early as this summer, enabling those with Android NFC phones to tap for a faster flow through check-in, security screening and boarding.

The application will follow the airline’s much-used passive contactless sticker, Smart Pass. Scandinavian Airlines, or SAS, began rolling out the sticker to customers last October in Sweden and has since expanded it to Denmark and Norway.

Although three quarters of SAS passengers carry smartphones while traveling, only a very small percentage have NFC phones, so use of the application will likely be low for some time after the app is introduced. But the airline said it is banking on NFC to help it offer more convenience to customers using mobile phones.

“We believe a sticker like this is not really what we are looking for in the long run,” said Lena Erneling Albers, manager on ground, product and customer services. “You can’t send them out to too many people. We plan to integrate it (Smart Pass) into NFC phones, but that requires NFC-enabled phones.”

SAS said customers have taken well to the Smart Pass stickers. Erneling Albers said 50% of customers who have been issued the passive stickers use them when they travel with the airline.

All told, the airline has issued 55,000 of the stickers and have 1,000 readers at airports in Scandinavia. The stickers contain the same information as the airline’s frequent flyer card, EuroBonus, which customers use to identify their trip at self-service kiosks for the airline check in and baggage counters, as well as at security checkpoints, lounge entrances and boarding gates.

The airline has 3 million EuroBonus members, and among these it issued the sticker to many of its most loyal frequent flyers, EuroBonus Gold members. It issued 20,000 stickers last fall in Sweden and another 35,000 in Denmark and Norway starting in March.

UPDATE: The 50% usage rate refers only to EuroBonus members in Sweden. A follow-up survey of these users by SAS found that 87% said they had applied the stickers to the back of their mobile phones, and 68% said they had used it at least six times since October. END UPDATE.

She told NFC Times she was surprised at how well received the sticker has been by passengers.

“Most people carry their mobile in their hand or pockets; it’s very accessible,” said Erneling Albers, speaking at the recent WIMA 2012 conference in Monaco. “We see this as the first step. We want to encourage mobile behavior in our passengers.”

SAS is a pioneer in using mobile technology, first sending flight info by SMS 15 years ago. It introduced SMS check-in about eight years ago.

Today, 15% of passengers use mobile phones to check in for their flights before arriving at the airport, which Erneling Albers said is the highest rate in the airline industry.

There have been at least a couple of other contactless sticker projects launched by airlines, including one introduced by Air New Zealand.

With the help of NFC technology, airline passengers will routinely tap their mobile phones to pass through security checkpoints and boarding gates by 2018, predicts major airline industry IT and communications services provider SITA.

SAS wants passengers to continue to use the Smart Pass application as much as possible to transmit their EuroBonus ID numbers to terminals, rather than relying on magnetic-stripe cards. Besides the EuroBonus number, the Smart Pass stickers store the account’s expiration date. Both the account number and expiration date are also written on the front of the 29-millimeter square stickers.

UPDATE: With the NFC application, the EuroBonus number and expiration date will be stored in the app itself, not on any secure element. The airline believes it does not need the extra security the secure element provides, since the application–like the cards and passive stickers–mainly identify the passenger's trip. At secure checkpoints, they would also have to provide a passport or other secure ID. END UPDATE.

Despite the high use rate of the stickers, Erneling Albers said the airline does not plan to roll them out widely.

For one thing, it would be difficult for customers to remove the stickers from the back of their phones when they change handsets.

Also, they could put a sticker on the back of a phone that has its own built-in NFC antenna, possibly causing collision problems for the contactless signals, Erneling Albers said. That eventually could become an issue as more NFC phones get released.

But while a greater range of NFC phones will hit store shelves this year, it could be a while before a sizable share of SAS’ EuroBonus members have one in their pockets, so that they could use the airline’s EuroBonus NFC app.

“We don’t really have any minimum customer base,” said Erneling Albers. “We are going to make it possible to download. Anyone with an NFC-enabled telephone, they will be able to use it. We do believe the penetration will increase rapidly.”

It remains to be seen whether Apple will support NFC in its next iPhone, or if it does, whether its implementation would support an NFC-enabled EuroBonus app.

That’s a concern for SAS, since of the 15% of SAS customers who check in for their flights with their mobile phones, more than half do so with iPhone. About 25% use Android phones.

 

HEADLINE NEWS

Orange Cash Gets New Life as Part of Orange Bank App

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – As expected, Orange will continue offering its NFC-enabled Orange Cash Visa-branded card with the launch of its Orange Bank mobile service.

First HCE-Enabled JCB Cards to Hit Market in Taiwan in First Quarter

Nov 14 2017

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Japanese credit card company JCB will participate early next year in a mobile wallet from the Taiwan Mobile Payment banking joint venture, marking the first time JCB will support host card emulation in a mobile payments service.

Canadians Take to Contactless Cards, but NFC Wallets? Not So Much

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – While a well-developed contactless card and POS terminal infrastructure and strong consumer take-up of contactless card payments has often been touted as the gateway to use of mobile payments, that is often not the case. Take Canada, for instance.

New York Approves Delayed Contract for Contactless Fare Collection, Clearing Way for Rides with NFC Wallets

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority board has approved a long-anticipated contract to enable riders to pay with contactless credit and debit cards, including cards loaded into NFC mobile wallets, by 2019–the largest transit authority to do so since Transport for London launched open-loop fare collection in late 2012.

Fitbit Chief Plans to Enable Entire Product Line for Payments with NFC; Challenges Lie Ahead

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – LAS VEGAS:  Fitbit CEO James Park today said the large wearables maker plans to enable contactless payments across its entire range of devices over the next few years using NFC technology, a move he said he hopes will help make contactless payments “ubiquitous around the world.”

Major League Baseball to Roll Out Availability of NFC Ticketing in 2018, but Will Stadiums Adopt the Technology?

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Major League Baseball in the U.S. may roll out NFC mobile ticketing next year as part of Apple Pay, although it’s unclear how many stadiums or other venues would be involved, sources told NFC Times.

Apple Promotes ‘Everyday’ Commerce for Apple Pay as It Seeks to Increase Transactions

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – LAS VEGAS:  As Apple continues to try to address what many observers consider to be a disappointing showing for its now three-year-old payments service, Apple Pay chief Jennifer Bailey played up the theme “Everyday (commerce) With Apple Pay,” during a keynote at the Money 20/20 fintech show Sunday.

Group Representing Big U.S. Banks Plans to Issue Own Tokens for Cards Carrying Major Brands

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The Clearing House, a group of the largest banks in the U.S., announced its first plans to tokenize cards branded by a major network, as the banks seek to reduce their dependence on tokenization by the major card schemes.

Apple Watch Likely to Lag Behind in Tag-Reading Ecosystem

NFC TIMES Exclusive – As the NFC tag industry responds to iOS 11, Apple Watch isn’t drawing much focus, and use cases for tag-reading on the wearable remain limited.

Mobile Payments Contribute to Slow Decline of Cash

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Mobile payments are one of the key factors driving the gradual replacement of cash with card and digital payments, according to the annual World Payments Report released this week by consulting and IT services firm Capgemini and major French bank BNP Paribas.

Apple Pay Finally Signs Up Second Major Bank in New Zealand

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – In certain markets, Apple continues to face resistance from major banks, which, among other things, do not want to participate in an Apple-branded wallet. That’s true in Australia and in such major Western European markets as France, Spain and Italy, where only one major bank in each country is supporting Apple Pay.

Wells Fargo Launches NFC-Enabled ATMs, Though Rollout is One Year Behind Schedule

Oct 16 2017

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Wells Fargo, the third largest U.S. bank by assets, made good on its pledge last March to launch NFC-enabled ATM cash withdrawals by the end of this year, although that is one year behind schedule, and Wells Fargo is far from the first major bank globally to support the technology on ATMs, even in the U.S.