Latest News

Walmart Quietly Ends Trial of App that Would Have Enabled Customers to Avoid Checkout Lanes in Supercenters

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Walmart Inc. has ended a trial of its Mobile Express Scan & Go app in its Walmart stores in the U.S., which had enabled shoppers to scan their items themselves and pay with a stored credit or debit card, then leave the store, after having a greeter scan a bar code in their apps to briefly check the receipt.

Another Large Chinese City Supports QR Code-Based Transit Ticketing

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Another major Chinese city is accepting QR code-based payments for transit fare collection, with riders of the Shenzhen Metro now able to use WeChat Pay to cover the fares.

Deutsche Bank Plans to Expand New Payments Service for Airlines to Other Industries, Though No Rollouts Yet Scheduled

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Germany’s largest bank, which announced plans Monday to pilot a new payments system for airlines that would enable travelers to buy tickets without pulling out their credit or debit cards, is also planning to expand the scheme to other industries, a bank spokesman told NFC Times.

Apple Touts Strong Growth of Apple Pay Globally, though Again Fails to Release Actual Transaction Figures

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Apple said the number of Apple Pay users doubled globally while transactions tripled during the last quarter, but the company did not release many details explaining reasons for the increases and again released no actual figures on Apple Pay usage.

Contactless Payments Continues to Grow for Transport for London, Helped by Fare Capping

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Transport for London this week was again trumpeting its move to open-loop fare collection with contactless credit and debit cards and applications on NFC phones–noting that contactless payments now accounts for half of all pay-as-you-go metro and rail rides in and around the UK’s capital.

Visa and Mastercard Hope New Online Payments Spec Will Accelerate Rollout of Tokens; U.S. Merchant Group Blasts Network Move as Anticompetitive

Apr 26 2018

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Major card networks Visa and Mastercard hope a new technical framework for online transactions they are backing from their jointly owned EMVCo specifications group will help them keep more transactions on their networks, amid growing competition for mobile and other digital payments and lackluster take-up of the networks’ respective online digital wallets, Visa Checkout and Masterpass.

Second Smartwatch Supports Fitbit Pay, but Payments Service Remains Fragmented

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Struggling wearables maker Fitbit on Monday began selling its second smartwatch, the Fitbit Versa, supporting its NFC-enabled Fitbit Pay service, but not all versions of the new device support NFC in the U.S.

WeChat Pay Touts Access by Merchants to Consumer Data, Messaging Channel

Apr 10 2018

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Both Ant Financial and Tencent Holdings have used their hundreds of millions of users, ready access to Chinese bank accounts, billions of yuan in subsidies for merchants and consumers and protected market status in China against Western competitors to build a combined mobile payments business valued in the trillions of U.S. dollars in transactions.

Regulations Take Effect in China to Limit Risk of Static QR Codes Used by Alipay, WeChat Pay and Others

Apr 4 2018

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Daily limits on QR code- and bar code-based transactions in China have taken effect–mainly hitting Ant Financial and its rival Tencent Holdings­, providers of respective digital payments services Alipay and WeChat Pay.  

Apple Pay Finally Enables Transit Ticketing in Beijing and Shanghai, but It May be Too Late to Turn Back QR Code-Based Wallets

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – After being beaten by rival handset makers Huawei, Xiaomi and even Samsung to the launch of NFC transit ticketing in China, Apple today finally began enabling riders in two major cities, Beijing and Shanghai, to tap to pay fares using closed-loop transit ticketing cards.

China UnionPay Seeks to Bolster Use of Brand for Mobile Payments Overseas; Will It Make a Difference?

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – China’s dominant bank card network, UnionPay, which is badly losing its battle for mobile payments market share among Chinese consumers to rivals Ant Financial and Tencent Holdings–both at home and abroad–is taking steps to try to gain some ground.

Japan Begins Overdue Move to Standard NFC Acceptance

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Japan was the first country to roll out contactless-mobile payments–starting in 2004–but it still does not accept standard, internationally interoperable NFC payments to any real extent, unlike most developed markets.

Google Seeks to Sign Up More Merchants for Tez App in India as Competition Heats Up

Mar 21 2018

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – SINGAPORE: Google is seeking to sign up more small merchants and encourage more retail payments with its Tez mobile payments service in India, an app now mainly used for peer-to-peer funds transfers.

Apple Pay Could Get More Single-Tap Rewards in Next Few Months but Technology is Not Proving Easy to Roll Out

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Restaurant loyalty platform vendor Punchh could enable its delayed single-tap loyalty and rewards service with Apple Pay in the second quarter of this year at as many as six quick-service and fast-casual restaurant chains, the vendor told NFC Times.

Visa Sees Range of Use Cases for QR Code-Based Payments, as It Seeks to Address Threat from New Payments Players

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Visa, which last summer announced it would introduce QR code-based payments to Taiwan by the end of this year, has recently briefed Taiwanese bankers on the planned architecture, use cases and some other details of the technology, NFC Times has learned.

Russian Telco MegaFon Makes Play in Mobile Payments Market With Virtual Bank Cards

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Russian telco MegaFon began issuing virtual Mastercard-branded bank cards yesterday, which its users can add to Apple Pay or Samsung Pay mobile wallets.

Google Gets Support for Its Underused Smart Tap Technology from POS Terminal Supplier Ingenico

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Google has not yet given up on technology it bought from the now defunct Softcard joint venture more than three years ago to try to boost use of its rebranded NFC mobile wallet, Google Pay, formerly Android Pay.

Analysis: Google Launches Google Pay Rebrand, as It Seeks to Enable Payments Across Multiple Channels and Devices

Jul 3 2018

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Google began rolling out its previously-announced set of Google Pay services Tuesday in what is primarily a rebrand of Android Pay and other Google payments features. The initiative supports Google’s long-held goal of making payments seamless across its various products and access points.

Can Luxury Watchmaker TAG Heuer Sell Swiss Precision Along with NFC Payments? Its Latest Smartwatch Again Supports Android Pay

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – While payments wearables, in general, are taking off more slowly than expected, a number of manufacturers are incorporating the feature in their high-end watches and that includes Switzerland-based luxury watchmaker TAG Heuer.

Hong Kong Banking Group JETCO–Former Backer of NFC–Launches QR Code Payments Service

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Hong Kong ATM and interbank group JETCO is the latest provider to launch a QR code-based payments service for in-store transactions in Asia, with payments coming out of the consumers’ bank accounts. But the group has few if any merchants live yet.

Vendor Hopes to ‘Flip’ Bitcoin Holders into Users of Cryptocurrency for Retail Purchases

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – While Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are mainly seen as assets for speculative investments these days rather than currencies for making payments, U.S.-based provisioning and mobile wallet platform company Fit Pay Thursday released a second announcement about its planned contactless device that would enable holders of Bitcoin to make purchases at brick-and-mortar stores.

NXP Continues to Promote ‘Loader Service’ Targeting Wearables Market, Seeking to Sell More Embedded Chips

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – In addition to the NFC secure elements that NXP Semiconductors is providing to wearables maker Garmin for its vívoactive 3 and forthcoming Forerunner 645 smartwatches supporting Garmin Pay, NXP is also supplying its “Loader Service,” a technology that the chip maker has been pushing for more than three years.

Popular Messaging App Most-Used Mobile Payments Service in Taiwan: Survey

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – There’s more evidence that social media and messaging apps are proving to be valuable platforms for promoting mobile payments, at least in Asia.

Can Cryptocurrency Work at the Point of Sale? Some Vendors Want to Try

NFC TIMES Exclusive – As cryptocurrencies gain momentum online, some payments vendors and even a handful of national banks are making the first moves toward bringing those currencies into the world of brick-and-mortar retail with mobile payments, but it will likely be some time before those efforts gain a significant foothold in the market.

Deals

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

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight ­– U.S.-based wearables maker Fitbit in October 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.