Latest News

Despite False Starts, Focus on Mobile Transit Ticketing Continues in China

NFC TIMES Exclusive ­– Chinese payments and mobile companies continue to look for ways to enable transit ticketing with smartphones, with projects in progress or expected using host card emulation, embedded secure elements and possibly even another contactless SIM from China Mobile, NFC Times has learned.

Belgium’s Belfius Bank Fully Launches HCE Mobile Payments Service

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Belgium’s Belfius Bank said it signed up 25,000 users within a three-week period recently for its HCE-enabled mobile payments service that it has launched as part of its mobile-banking app.

EU Antitrust Regulators Launch In-Depth Investigation into Qualcomm’s Planned NXP Acquisition

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – European Union antitrust regulators have launched an in-depth review of Qualcomm’s planned $47 billion acquisition of NXP Semiconductors, the largest supplier of NFC controllers and secure elements globally.

Visa Expands Token Service Provider ‘Partner’ Program, Though Most Vendors Not Yet Integrated with VTS

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight ­– Visa this week announced a new list of 13 “partner” companies to help it distribute and manage Visa-generated tokens, which the network giant is promoting for use in what it hopes will be large-scale rollouts of Internet of Things devices that can do payments.

Analysis: Apple Apparently Sees Need for Additional Pairing Technology with Support for NFC Tag Reading

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight ­– Nearly three years after embracing NFC technology for mobile payments but declining to support NFC’s tag-reading mode, Apple, in a surprise move, is adding tag-reading support to its NFC-enabled devices, including the iPhone 7 series and forthcoming iPhone 8, as well as its Apple Watch.

Exclusive: Major U.S. Processors Say In-Store Transactions for Pays Wallets Remain Disappointing

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Apple Pay and the other major Pays wallets still only account for around 1% of card transactions in the U.S., three major processors told NFC Times. At least two of the processors say they haven’t seen growth in Apple Pay over at least the past year.

Alipay North America Chief Insists Company has No Plans for U.S.-Based Wallet

NFC TIMES Exclusive –  Alipay has no plans today to introduce a mobile wallet in the U.S., and is instead expanding its merchant acceptance footprint in the U.S. only to serve Chinese visitors, Souheil Badran, president of Alipay North America, told NFC Times.

NFC Secure Element Shipments Likely Dropped for First Time in 2016, and Vendor Group Cuts Forecast for 2017

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Shipments of NFC secure elements almost certainly fell in 2016, based on recent figures released by vendor association Eurosmart, though the group is again declining to release specific shipment figures for NFC cards and embedded chips, instead combining the NFC unit shipments with those for machine-to-machine modules.

Samsung Pay Launches Commercially in Taiwan; No. 4 Credit Card Issuer Taishin Reveals Apple Pay Card Adds

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Samsung made it official, launching Samsung Pay commercially today in Taiwan with seven banks, as expected, following Apple Pay to the market by about two months and beating Android Pay, which is expected to launch on the island nation as early as next week. 

Why is Mobile Wallet Adoption So Disappointing? Some Industry Players Weigh In

NFC TIMES Exclusive –  NFC wallets are failing to catch on in the U.S., especially for in-store transactions, for a variety of reasons, including poor awareness among consumers and cashiers, lack of full buy-in from merchants, problems with certifying terminals for contactless and an insufficient value proposition, said industry players, including a representative from Google.

Samsung Pay Launches in UK Without Major Banks or MST Technology

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Samsung today finally launched its Samsung Pay mobile payments service in the UK, well behind rival payments services Apple Pay and Android Pay.

Wal-Mart Still Balks at Accepting NFC; Nordstrom Wants Right to Refuse Some NFC Wallets

NFC TIMES Exclusive – LAS VEGAS, Nev.: It’s been more than two and a half years since Apple Pay launched in the U.S., and retail giant Wal-Mart Stores still is no closer to accepting NFC at its 4,000-plus stores in the U.S. then when Apple began rolling out its NFC-enabled mobile payments service in October of 2014.

Apple Testing Loyalty Feature; Google Expected to Expand Payments for Home Device

NFC TIMES Exclusive – As they struggle with low user adoption of their respective wallets in the U.S., Apple and Google are seeking to add more features, hoping to increase transactions, NFC Times has learned.

Taiwan Chief Banking Regulator Reveals Apple Pay Card Adds; Samsung Launches Early Access in Country

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The chairman of Taiwan’s banking regulator, the Financial Supervisory Commission, Wednesday revealed just how fast a start Apple Pay got on the island nation, following its launch of the mobile payments service there in late March.

Analysis: Cook Touts Apple Pay's 'Phenomenal Traction,' but Figures–or Lack of Them–Tell Another Tale

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Apple CEO Tim Cook, with typical enthusiasm, touted Apple Pay’s “phenomenal traction” yesterday in a conference call with analysts. But with one exception, he again failed to release any actual transaction figures for the mobile payments service, while also apparently overstating the contactless and NFC acceptance footprint in the U.S.

Analysis: Enabling HCE Payments in Stand-Alone Wallet Vs. Mobile-Banking App? A Look at Ukraine

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Banks planning to launch host card emulation-based mobile payments have a decision to make: Should they incorporate the payments feature in their mobile-banking apps or introduce a separate wallet app.

Samsung ‘Officially’ Launches First Pays Service in Nordics and Middle East; Expands Beta to Two More Countries

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Samsung today said it had “officially” launched its mobile payments service, Samsung Pay, in Sweden and the United Arab Emirates after “early-access launches” in these countries, making it the first of the global “Pays” wallets to fully launch in either the Nordics or the Middle East.

‘Pays’ Not Enough: Two Singaporean Banks to Expand P2P Apps to In-Store Payments Using QR Codes

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Two of Singapore's major banks–both of which are participating in all three of the “Pays” wallets–Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay–are expanding their peer-to-peer payments services to in-store payments using QR codes.

More German Banks to Commercially Launch HCE-Enabled Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive – At least two German banks plan to follow the country's largest bank by assets, Deutsche Bank, in offering host card emulation-based mobile payments to their customers, NFC Times has learned.

PayPal Will Use Discover Acceptance Infrastructure and Tokenization for In-Store Payments with Android Pay

NFC TIMES Exclusive – PayPal will use the Discover Financial Services acceptance infrastructure and tokenization for its move to in-store payments with Android Pay, NFC Times has confirmed.

Samsung Pay Nears Launch in Taiwan; Android Pay Expected to Follow

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Samsung Pay is expected to launch next month in Taiwan, followed by Android Pay, as the two global “Pays” wallets gear up to compete with Apple Pay on the island nation, NFC Times has learned.

Analysis: Following Delays, PayPal ‘Soon’ to Launch Next Attempt at In-Store Payments using Host Card Emulation

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – PayPal and Google announced a deal that promises to finally bring HCE payments to U.S. PayPal account holders, after delays–enabling users to pay with PayPal through Android Pay.

Vendor Blames Certification Woes for Slow Rollout of Payments Wearables

NFC TIMES Exclusive – A costly and time-consuming payments wearables certification process is a major contributor to delays in payments wearables getting into the hands of more consumers, Israel-based On Track Innovations’ director of marketing and head of innovations Nir Barr told NFC Times.

With Apple’s NFC Technology Locked, Denmark Tries BLE for Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive – With Apple showing no signs of backing off its policy of restricting use of its NFC technology to Apple Pay only, banks and payments services providers are looking for ways to enable their iPhone-packing customers to pay with their phones in stores, especially in countries where Apple Pay hasn’t yet launched.

Analysis: Fall in NFC SIM Card Shipments Years in the Making

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – SIM card vendor trade group the SIMalliance acknowledged for the first time that NFC SIM shipments are dropping and blamed disappointing take-up by consumers, as well as the tail end of the impact of the closing of the Softcard joint venture in early 2015. The group again declined to release global NFC SIM shipment figures, however.

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.