U.S. Bank to Issue Dual-Interface EMV Cards

In a first for the U.S. market, one of the country’s largest banks plans to begin issuing dual-interface EMV cards targeted at international travelers.

U.S. Bank today announced it would issue 20,000 Visa-branded EMV credit cards this month that can handle both contact and contactless chip transactions. The chips would go into its Flexiperks Travel Rewards card. The bank said it plans to put similar chips in other travel rewards cards in the coming year.

The cards work in contact EMV terminals, which require cardholders to enter PIN codes after they insert their cards into point-of-sale terminals. And the new cards also could be tapped on contactless terminals that support Visa's payWave application in the United States and abroad, but these will not be contactless EMV transactions, even in countries with contactless EMV terminals. They will use contactless magnetic-stripe format data on the cards. The cards, of course, support swipe transactions on less-secure magnetic stripe terminals in the United States.

With the new program, U.S. bank becomes one of the first major banks in the United States to issue any kind of EMV card. JPMorgan Chase in April said it would begin issuing its Palladium credit card, targeted at wealthy customers, starting this month, with other Chase cards to follow. And Wells Fargo also said in April it would start a trial, handing out EMV cards to 15,000 customers who are frequent travelers.

The small United Nations Federal Credit Union earlier issued what is believed to be the first EMV cards by a U.S.-based financial institution. There are a few other small U.S. issuers, which also are targeting EMV cards at their traveling clientele.

Volumes of EMV cards issued in the United States remain small, and it would be years before the massive U.S. market could roll out the more secure chip technology. The technology has been widely deployed in Europe and parts of Asia and Latin America.

While most merchants in Europe and other places rolling out EMV cards and terminals accept magnetic-stripe cards, cardholders who do not carry an EMV card have a hard time buying transit tickets or making other purchases from unattended point-of-sale terminals, especially in Europe.

But unlike the nascent EMV programs at the other banks, the new U.S. Bank EMV card is expected to be the first from a U.S. issuer to include a dual-interface chip. Oberthur Technologies is supplying the cards.

“While we believe EMV is important for our international travel cardholders, we are committed to driving contactless (and) mobile payments in the United States,” Cliff Cook, chief marketing officer for U.S. bank retail payment solutions, said in a statement.

The bank was also among the first to test contactless microSD cards in mobile phones. U.S. Bank employees trialed a payWave application on microSD cards in Apple’s iPhone and some BlackBerry handsets in 20 cities between November 2010 and March 2011. U.S.-based DeviceFidelity supplied the cards and special attachments for the iPhone.

 

HEADLINE NEWS

Transport for London Proposes Extending Licensing Deal with Cubic for Open Payments Technology

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – London transit authority Transport for London is proposing to extend an agreement with U.S.-based fare collection system vendor Cubic Transportation Systems to license the authority’s technology used in its pioneering contactless open-loop payments system.

Fitbit Pay Launches in 21st Market, Though Issuer Numbers in Most Markets Remain Small

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Fitbit Pay has entered its 21st market, with the launch this week in Thailand with two of the country’s top four banks, Kasikorn Bank and Siam Commercial Bank, along with credit card issuer Krungthai Card, or KTC, supporting the digital payments service.

Denmark’s Largest Bank Pilots Own Payments Wearables, Choosing Low-Tech Option Over Apple Watch

Oct 13 2018

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Danske Bank, Denmark’s largest financial institution, is pitting its planned low-tech FastPay payments wearables against Apple Watch and some other higher-end wearables using tokenization, as it launches a large pilot starting this month in Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

Study: Apple Pay Dominates Mobile Payments Among Debit Card Users in U.S., Though Volume Remains Low

NFC Times Exclusive Insight ­– New research shows that Apple Pay continues to dominate mobile payments services for bank cards in the U.S., although transaction volume is still low.

NFC Student ID Cards Launch in Apple’s Wallet, Though Progress Remains Slow for Apple to Add Nonbank NFC Applications

Oct 12 2018

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight –Three U.S. universities Tuesday launched NFC-enabled ID cards in Apple’s Wallet, with Apple confirming that only three more U.S.

LA Metro Plans NFC-Enabled Mobile App for TAP Card But Holds Off on Open Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or Metro, plans to introduce mobile payments using NFC phonesbut only supporting its closed-loop TAP fare payments service, not open-loop payments, NFC Times has learned.

Chinese Wearables Makers Begin to Introduce Low-Cost Devices Supporting NFC Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – A new smartwatch from low-cost Chinese wearables maker Huami and the latest fitness band version from Huami’s major investor and partner, Xiaomi, both support transit and retail payments–making them among the first budget smart wearables devices supporting NFC payments.

In-Depth: San Francisco’s $461 Million Transit Contract Will Support NFC Ticketing but Not Open-Loop Contactless Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – A planned US$461 million contract to upgrade and operate the Clipper fare collection system in the San Francisco Bay Area will include account-based ticketing and a mobile app that will enable customers to tap for rides with a closed-loop virtual Clipper card on NFC-enabled smartphones.

Apple Drops Requirement to Have App Open for Tag Reading

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Apple has relaxed its approach to NFC tag reading in its new iPhone Xs, Xs Max, and Xr models, removing the requirement to have a reader application open in order to use a tag. It calls the feature Background Tag Reading, and it offers essentially the same functionality that Android devices have had for years.  

Fossil Expands Support for NFC Payments, as It Continues Push into Smartwatch Market

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – U.S.-based Fossil Group is pushing deeper into the smartwatch market, as it seeks to diversify from the financially strapped traditional watch market. Among the apps Fossil is offering on several new smartwatch models are Google Pay and Alipay, the latter in China.

Google Expands Payments Service in India, Targeting Projected $1 Trillion Digital Payments Market

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight Google, its eye on India’s projected US$1 trillion digital payments market in five years, has rebranded its Tez payments service to Google Pay and is planning to expand its services, including to Gmail-based payments and, later, NFC.

Fitbit Unveils First Non-Smartwatch Supporting NFC Payments Service, but Progress of Device Rollout Slow

Oct 13 2018

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight ­– U.S.-based wearables maker Fitbit in November plans to release its first non-smartwatch supporting its payments service, Fitbit Pay, with the recent unveiling of its new health and fitness tracker Charge 3–but as with its Versa smartwatch, released in April, the NFC payments feature will only be available on a “special edition” version of the tracker in the U.S. and likely in some other markets.