Latest News

Major UK Bus Operators Complete Contactless Rollouts, With More to Come

NFC TIMES Exclusive – At least 13,000 buses in the UK outside of London now accept open-loop contactless payments, and more rollouts are underway as part of a plan by UK bus operators to roll out contactless on all 32,000 buses operating in the UK outside of the capital, NFC Times has learned.

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.

Analysis: Three Years In, Samsung Pay Transaction Figures Are Still Nothing to Boast About

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – ­Three years after its launch in South Korea, consumer take-up of Samsung Pay remains lackluster, despite the company’s efforts to hype up its newly released figures.

Dominant NFC Chip Supplier Seeks to Move Up Value Chain by Providing More Services

NFC TIMES Exclusive – NXP Semiconductors, the dominant supplier of NFC chips and secure elements for smartphones and wearables, is seeking to push further up the value chain, offering such services as a white-label wallet platform and provisioning of bank and transit payments applications.

More Cities Plan to Launch Transit Ticketing in Google Pay Wallet

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Some major cities plan to enable their transit fare payments in the Google Pay wallet, using NXP’s Mifare 2GO provisioning service, NXP Semiconductors confirmed to NFC Times, adding that the implementations could put the fare-payments applications on secure elements.

Vancouver Transit Authority Plans to Run Open-Loop and Closed-Loop Fare Collection Side by Side

Aug 13 2018

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Vancouver-area transit authority TransLink is seeing modest consumer take-up for its new open-loop contactless fare payments service and around 6% of the contactless EMV credit transactions are from NFC mobile wallets so far, NFC Times has learned.

Mastercard Backs Open-Loop Transit Payments in Taiwan’s No. 2 City

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s second-largest city, plans to enable riders to enter subway gates by tapping contactless EMV credit cards and NFC wallets by the end of the year, working with Mastercard.

Traditional Watchmaker Fossil Adds NFC Payments, Heart Monitor to Smartwatch Line, as It Seeks to Reverse Earnings Slump

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Struggling U.S.-based watchmaker Fossil has introduced NFC for the first time, in its Q line of smartwatches, hoping the support for Google Pay and other smartwatch applications will help the mainly traditional watchmaker to stay competitive as more consumers turn away from traditional watches.

Analysis: Apple Touts Growth, as It Releases First Global Transaction Figure for Apple Pay; but Service Continues to Face Challenges

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Apple released the number of global transactions for its Apple Pay service–believed to be the first time it has done so–as the tech giant touted a tripling of transactions to more than 1 billion for the latest quarter. Apple also disclosed plans by two more large U.S. retailers to accept contactless payments and announced that another major country, Germany, would support Apple Pay, later this year.

Japan’s SoftBank Group Plans Digital Payments Service; Can It Convince Consumers to Part with Their Cash?

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight –  SoftBank Group’s reported plans to launch a mobile digital payments service in Japan by year’s end–collaborating with Indian mobile payments provider Paytm–is an attempt by SoftBank Group founder Masayoshi Son to do what other large companies have tried and failed to do: wean Japanese consumers off of cash.

Garmin Unveils New Smartwatch Series Supporting Garmin Pay

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – U.S.-based wearables maker Garmin has introduced a fourth smartwatch to its lineup of devices supporting its NFC-enabled payments service, Garmin Pay, the high-end D2 Delta watch series targeted at aviators or aviator wannabes.

Hong Kong Subway Operator and Majority Owner of Octopus Pursues QR Code-Based Transit Payments

NFC TIMES EXCLUSIVE Insight – Hong Kong’s MTR Corp., which runs the city’s subway system, next month will accept tenders from technology and payments providers for a QR code-based fare collection service that will serve as an alternative to its much-used contactless Octopus card.

Open-Loop Payments Connected with Campus ID Cards Not to be Included in Apple Wallet

NFC TIMES Exclusive – NFC-based student ID cards provisioned to Apple Wallet beginning this fall won’t include the open-loop debit payments that are often part of plastic student ID cards, NFC Times has learned.

Milan Launches Support for Open-Loop Transit Payments; Other Cities Move Toward Accepting EMV Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Milan is the latest city to enable collection of fares by contactless bank cards and NFC phones, with public transport company Azienda Trasporti Milanesi, or ATM, rolling out the service to more than 100 stations on its metro system. The company plans to expand the open-loop payment service to buses and other surface transport modes it manages.

Deals

Sony Launches Smart Strap in Europe Supporting NFC Payments; High-End Device Costs as Much as Latest Apple Watch

Feb 16 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Sony has introduced its NFC-enabled smart watch strap, Wena, to the UK and Ireland, which will allow users to turn their analog watches into hybrid smartwatches and tap the straps to pay with tokenized EMV-compliant cards loaded into the devices from wallet apps.

Open-Loop Payments to Launch on London’s Airport Train Service with Calls for Further Expansion

Feb 15 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – ­The Heathrow Express airport line serving London will begin accepting contactless open-loop payments along with closed-loop Oyster cards next week–more than six years after commuters first could pay by tapping their bank cards and NFC phones to ride on buses on the separate Transport for London system.

In-Depth: More U.S. Issuers to Join Contactless Card Rollout; Adoption Expected to Surpass NFC Wallets

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – There is more evidence that U.S. banks will be moving a substantial portion of their card base to contactless over the next few years, as they reissue their basic EMV cards with a contactless interface, giving American consumers more opportunities to tap to pay than ever before.

More Asian Cities Open Up to Open-Loop Cards and NFC- and QR Code-Based Fare Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Unlike transit authorities in the U.S. and Europe, transit agencies and the governments that control them in Asia often run their closed-loop fare-collection schemes as separate businesses.

Cook Discloses Apple Pay Transactions Showing That Growth Continues, Albeit Somewhat More Slowly Than Before

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Apple Tuesday reported that its digital payments service recorded more than 1.8 billion transactions globally in the tech giant’s fiscal first quarter ending in December, more than double compared with the same quarter a year earlier–though transaction growth is slowing and transactions still represent a small percentage of total card transactions.

In-Depth: Contactless Card Issuance to Finally Get Rolling in U.S. This Year

Jan 23 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The U.S. is finally on the brink of large-scale contactless EMV card issuance, with optimistic projections from the payment networks, and at least one of the largest U.S. issuers committed to converting its credit and debit card portfolios  to dual-interface cards by the end of 2019.

USA Technologies Feels Wrath of Investors After Admitting Financial Irregularities and Audit Firm Quits

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – USA Technologies, or USAT, which has been the largest enabler of card and contactless payments on vending machines in the U.S., saw half its market cap wiped yesterday, after its independent audit firm, RSM US, resigned, saying it could no longer rely on USAT’s representations in connection with the 2017 audit of the company.

In-Depth: Payments Wearables Market Enters New Phase as Passive Devices Get Tokenized Bank Cards

NFC TIMES Exclusive – With the announcement this month by large analog watchmaker Swatch of the expansion of its digital payments service SwatchPAY! to Europe, the payments wearables market could see a considerable change.

Provisioning Tokens to Swatch Watches in the Store: How SwatchPAY! Works

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Switzerland-based watchmaker Swatch plans to roll out its SwatchPAY! contactless payments service to a number of European countries and then perhaps globally, representing budding competition to Apple Pay, Fitbit Pay and Garmin Pay. But unlike these three smartwatch-enabled Pays services and others, SwatchPAY! uses low-cost analog watches as its payments devices.

Swatch Expands Payments Service–Provides Affordable Analog Alternative to Smartwatches

Jan 21 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Swatch, one of the world’s largest watchmakers, has expanded its contactless-payments service to its home base of Switzerland, launching the restyled SwatchPAY! service with seven card issuers Thursday. A spokeswoman told NFC Times the company plans to expand the service to other European countries this year. 

Features

U.S. Football Sees NFC-Enabled E-Tickets as way to Cut Fraud, Market to Fans

By: 
K.N. Smith

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – With the National Football League kicking off its season in a few weeks in the U.S., fans will be using NFC, QR codes and perhaps ultrasonic signals on their mobile devices, in addition to tapping contactless-enabled paper tickets, to attend football games and other events at all 31 NFL stadiums.

In-Depth: As U.S. Lags in Contactless Payments, are Issuers Ready to Roll Out Dual-Interface EMV Cards?

By: 
K.N. Smith

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Most issuers in the U.S. have so far held back from rolling out contactless or dual-interface cards, but merchant acceptance has been quietly building over the past few years, despite some large U.S. retailers balking at accepting contactless cards and NFC-enabled devices.

In-Depth: Can Contactless Cards Succeed in U.S. Where NFC Mobile Wallets Have Failed?

By: 
K.N. Smith

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Payments industry backers suggest that U.S. banks could have an incentive to begin contactless rollouts soon, but in the absence of deadlines from the major payments networks, which are rapidly approaching in other markets, there's no guarantee of rollouts in the U.S. on the horizon.

How Mobile Wallets, Payments Wearables, Tokenization Fared the Past Year, and Where They Stand Now

By: 
Dan Balaban

NFC TIMES Exclusive – As the digital payments ecosystem moves into 2018, it is dealing with many of the same unfulfilled promises, works in progress and unfinished business as in 2017.

U.S. Merchant Apps Square Off Against NFC ‘Pays’ Wallets: The Retailer Perspective

By: 
K.N. Smith

NFC TIMES Exclusive – As more U.S. merchants launch their own payments apps, some seem positioned to offer serious competition to Apple Pay and the other NFC “Pays” wallets.

Backers Look to Range of Devices for Contextual Commerce, Though Fragmentation Will Pose Challenges

By: 
K.N. Smith

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Promoters of contextual commerce are looking to a range of connected devices, including smart appliances and such home hubs as Alexa–along with a host of mobile devices–to enable consumers to pay in almost every context. But many challenges remain for what could become a “very disjointed” array of payment options, experts say.

Feature: How Do Mobile Payments Fit into an Omnichannel World?

By: 
K.N. Smith

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – As retailers and payments services providers increasingly try to connect and track consumer transactions across online and in-store channels, mobile payments must function as part of an omnichannel payments ecosystem, say industry observers.

IoT Payments Backers Say Devices Will Range from the Familiar to the Far-Fetched

By: 
K.N. Smith

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – With the buzz around the Internet of Things growing ever stronger, the payments ecosystem is determined not to be left out.

Sound-Based Payments Target Developing Economies but Face Long Road to Consumer Take-Up

By: 
K.N. Smith

NFC TIMES Exclusive – With two sound-based payments launches in India in September, the technology has drawn some interest, but although several banks in emerging countries have signed on with sound-based payments platforms, consumer take-up remains unclear, and it’s likely that the road to adoption will be at least as slow as that faced by NFC payments in developed markets.

Energy Drink Promotion Features Different Way to Put Payment Applications Onto Objects

By: 
Dan Balaban

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – While the recent promotion by the makers of Lucozade Energy drinks in the UK, which enabled users to tap their bottles on contactless readers to redeem free rides on the London Underground, may have been just a clever marketing stunt, the way the drinks company got the prepaid EMV application onto the bottles broke the mold for how such applications usually get provisioned.