Latest News

Google Launches First Major Pays Wallet in Germany, but Growth Prospects Appear Dim

Jun 27 2018

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Google Pay launched today in Germany, making Google the first of the major backers of a Pays mobile wallet to launch service in the country. Yet, prospects for Google and any of the other international Pays that decide to launch in Europe’s largest economy are not promising.

UnionPay Pushes Open-Loop Transit Payments, as It Seeks to Stay Competitive with Alipay and WeChat Pay

NFC TIMES Exclusive – China’s major bank card network China UnionPay is badly losing the battle for mobile payments market share against Ant Financial and Tencent Holdings, and now the two Internet giants have turned their attention to enabling mobile transit ticketing across the country.

Taiwan’s EasyCard Gives Stark Example of Problems Some Major Transit and E-Money Payments Providers Face in Enabling Mobile Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive – HANOI, Vietnam: For several years, EasyCard Corp. of Taiwan has been seeking to enable its popular transit fare collection and retail e-money service for mobile and other digital payments, but it has hit several roadblocks along the way.

Launch of Apple Pay in Japan Boosts User Numbers for Mobile Suica, but Most Transactions Still Use Cards

Jun 9 2018

NFC TIMES Exclusive – HANOI, Vietnam: Since Apple Pay launched in Japan in the fall of 2016, the number of users for the Mobile Suica transit and retail payments application has grown by 50%, although the vast majority of transactions for Suica are still conducted with cards.

Apple to Enable Campus ID Cards in Wallet but Doesn’t Announce Opening of NFC Chip

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Apple will enable colleges and universities to add NFC-based student ID cards to its Wallet with OS upgrades to its Apple Watch and iPhone, the tech giant announced Monday on the opening day of its Worldwide Developers Conference.

Barclays Embeds Contactless Chips in Bands for Brand-Name Watchmakers, Hoping to Boost Payments Wearables

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight ­– The first contactless payments wearables resulting from UK-based Barclays partnerships with seven mostly analog watchmakers are beginning to roll out, with more planned–all using the bank’s bPay contactless chips and payments service.

Google Makes Progress Signing up Merchants in India for Tez Payments Service, but Penetration Still Low

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Google has signed up 640,000 small merchants in India to use its mobile payments service, Tez, a Google spokesman told NFC Times.

Vancouver’s TransLink Launches Open-Loop Ticketing, Though Offers Daily Riders Few Incentives to Tap Bank Cards to Pay

Aug 9 2018

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Vancouver is the latest major city to enable riders to tap to pay fares with contactless bank cards, including card credentials loaded into such NFC-enabled mobile payments services as Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.  

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.

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.