Google to Announce its NFC Mobile-Commerce Initiative

Google has confirmed it will be making a “partner announcement” concerning its NFC mobile-commerce initiative, which will be held tomorrow in New York.

Google is expected to announce the launch of its NFC mobile wallet and m-commerce applications with Citigroup and MasterCard Worldwide, which will provide the payment service for the project. Among other companies likely to be at the event are processor and trusted service manager First Data.

Stephanie Tilenius, vice president of commerce at Google, confirmed the pending announcement today at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York City. “We’re making a big bet on it as a company,” she said, speaking of NFC. “There is a lot of potential there.”

Google has been working for a number of months on the mobile wallet, along with mobile-commerce applications for its Android operating system, NFC Times reported in January. The launch of the project has been delayed several times, however. The wallet, which Google has developed with the help of its NFC chip supplier, NXP Semiconductors, will play host to payment applications provided by partners. Citi, along with MasterCard, has been working with Google on the concept for some time.

Plans call for Citi to issue a prepaid MasterCard PayPass application to be loaded onto Google’s Nexus S and, later, perhaps other Android phones, NFC Times reported last week.

The large Subway sandwich chain in the United States will participate in the launch, according to sources. A Wall Street Journal article reported this as well and that other merchants will include the Macy’s department store and clothing chain American Eagle Outfitters. Starbucks also has been approached by Google, among other merchants, sources told NFC Times. It's not clear whether Starbucks will participate.

None of these merchants now reportedly accept contactless payment in the United States. But more than 100,000 merchant outlets already have readers installed stateside and, therefore, could accept payment from a PayPass application on the Nexus S.

Update: The first phase of the service is expected to launch as early as tomorrow in New York and San Francisco and possibly a few other cities. A larger phase of the project will start in September of this year. Google hopes to have at least 500,000 Nexus S phones activated in the pockets of U.S. consumers by the end of the year, NFC Times has learned. End update.

Google is keen on using NFC and smartphones supporting Android to enable merchants and consumer products companies to deliver targeted advertising and offers to prospective shoppers, based on their location, buying preferences and other data.

It would use NFC to enable consumers to tap tags embedded in smart posters to download coupons and other offers and perhaps product information, as well as to pay, sources have said. These NFC services could work along with cloud-based apps. Google is also expected to offer its Google Places app, which enables users to tap tags embedded in stickers or decals on merchant storefronts to download information about the businesses and to rate and review the establishments.

The Web giant has been talking to other banks, in both North America and Europe, to provide the payment piece of the mobile-commerce service, NFC Times has learned. First Data is expected to provide processing and TSM services for the U.S. launch, the latter services with its technology partner SK C&C USA. Google also is reportedly working with such point-of-sale and contactless reader vendors as VeriFone, Ingenico and perhaps Vivotech to enable users to tap their phones to pay and redeem coupons and other offers at the checkout counter.

The launch will put the Citi-issued PayPass application inside Google’s mobile wallet, where it will be stored on the embedded secure chip in the Nexus S, sources earlier told NFC Times. Google is expected to have overall control of the secure chip and application-programming interfaces, or APIs, to access it, said the sources. Google commissioned Samsung Electronics to make the Nexus S, which is distributed mainly through consumer electronics stores.

Such phone makers as BlackBerry producer Research in Motion and Samsung, manufacturer of other Android handsets, also are interested in controlling the embedded secure chip in their phones. 

This sets up a possible showdown with mobile operators over control of the secure elements in NFC phones. Google's m-commerce initiative could represent the first shot in a coming mobile wallet war, say some observers.

HEADLINE NEWS

Profits Remain Elusive for Contactless Reader and NFC Tech Supplier OTI

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Israel-based On Track Innovations reported continued negative adjusted EBITDA and didn’t announce any new major reader sales during a recent conference call to discuss the company’s first quarter earnings. Despite a recent patent case win, investors appear to be getting impatient.

Identiv Reports Drop in Q1 Sales and Full-Year Guidance; but Says Demand for NFC Tags for IoT Up

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Identiv reported lower-than-expected revenue for its first quarter and continued losses, though CEO Jason Hart said the company is se

Qualcomm Strikes Deal to Use NFC Technology from NXP; Drops In-House NFC Program

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Qualcomm, the largest supplier of processor chips for mobile phones globally, has made a deal to integrate NFC technology from NXP Semiconductors for its reference designs for OEMs featuring its Snapdragon processors.

Samsung Pay Head: Interest in Embedded Chips Grows for Payments and Nonpayments; eSE Won't be Limited to Samsung Pay

May 4 2015

NFC Times Exclusive –  Besides payments, Samsung is targeting nonpayment applications, and is seeing “growing interest” in its embedded chips, Samsung Pay director Victor Kim told NFC Times.

Gemalto CEO: TSM Revenue to Fall in 2015; Won't Pick Up Until Next Year, Likely with New Technologies

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Gemalto CEO Olivier Piou said revenue from the vendor’s trusted service management business fell in the first quarter and would stay down for the rest of the year, while indicating Gemalto is no longer seeing many TSM tenders from telcos.

Giesecke & Devrient, Oberthur Hit by Falling Prices, SIM Sales

Apr 30 2015

NFC Times Exclusive – Falling SIM card prices among other challenges have forced such major smart card and NFC vendors as Giesecke & Devrient and Oberthur Technologies to restructure, though strong growth in shipments of EMV cards to Asia and the United States helped them record growth in overall revenue in 2014.

PayPal Doing NFC Trials, but Says It Will Not Rely Solely on NFC Technology

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – PayPal is trialing NFC mobile payments, CEO-designee Dan Schulman said during eBay’s first quarter earnings call, but the company continues to be cautious about embracing NFC.

Fourth U.S. Payments Network to Support Apple Pay; Discover Financial to Launch NFC Commercially after False Starts

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Payment network Discover Financial Services announced its support for Apple Pay on Monday, becoming the fourth major payment networks in the U.S. to join Apple Pay.

Broadcom Says Little About NFC in Q1 Earnings Call

Apr 23 2015

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – U.S.-based Broadcom reported continued growth for its connectivity segment during its first quarter 2015 earnings call, but made almost no mention of NFC.

Apple Drives Nascent NFC Payments Wearables Market with Arrival This Week of Apple Watch

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – With the first Apple Watch units set to be delivered this week, NFC payments for wearable devices becomes a budding market, though it remains to be seen whether consumers want to tap their watches or wristbands to pay.

Apple Gets Some Pushback from Banks as It Seeks to Expand Apple Pay Abroad

Apr 20 2015

NFC Times Exclusive Insight –Apple is getting some pushback from banks as it seeks to expand its payments service, Apple Pay, outside of the U.S., where its U.S. business model along with other characteristics of the U.S. market will not translate well, NFC Times has learned.

NFC SIM Shipments Show Strong Gains in 2014, but Future Growth Remains in Doubt

Apr 23 2015

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – The SIMalliance vendor group is playing up what it calls soaring growth in NFC SIM shipments in 2014, despite troubling signs for the future of SIM-based NFC, such as Apple Pay and similar initiatives by other OEMs, as well as growing interest in host-card emulation and the failure of SIM-based NFC services to take off.