Latest News

Apple Refuses to Open NFC Technology; Contends Australian Banks Want to Boost Own Wallets

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Apple vowed it will not agree to open up its NFC technology or yield to other negotiating points that four large Australian banks have raised as part of their request to antitrust regulators to negotiate collectively with Apple and to boycott participation in Apple Pay while the negotiations are going on.

Source: Apple Plans to Support FeliCa and NFC in Japan, Like Other OEMs, but Not Necessarily Apple Pay Yet

Aug 26 2016

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Apple plans to support proprietary FeliCa technology as well as NFC in its iPhones sold in Japan like other handset makers in Japan have been doing since 2012, probably starting with the iPhone 7; but the tech giant won’t necessarily introduce Apple Pay with the device, a source told NFC Times.

Analysis: Samsung Marks One-Year Anniversary of Payments Service by Touting 100 Million Transactions but Still has Much to Prove

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Twelve months after launch, Samsung Pay is available in seven countries and eight total markets with users having made a combined 100 million or so transactions over the past year, but the tech giant is not disclosing its total number of users.

Australian Retail Giant Coles, Merchant Group Support Banks' Fight Against Apple

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – One of Australia's largest supermarket chain, Coles, and the Australian Retailers Association have thrown their support behind four major banks seeking permission from Australian antitrust regulators to negotiate as a bloc with Apple as they try to break what they see as the tech giant's divide-and-conquer strategy for recruiting banks for Apple Pay.

Visa, Mastercard Set Deadlines for Ending Support for Alternate PANs

NFC Times Exclusive – Both Visa and Mastercard have set deadlines for ending support for alternate PANs that a number of banks are issuing for their mobile payments apps, as the schemes continue to push their own tokenization services to issuers, NFC Times has learned.

Xiaomi's Mi Pay Joins Crowded ‘OEM Pay’ Market in China, as Device Maker Seeks to Slow Slide in Sales

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Adding mobile payments capabilities to flagship smartphones appears to be a must-have feature as OEMs fight for market share in China’s hotly contested phone market.

OTI Continues to Cut Costs and Position Itself for Growth, but Won’t Project When It Will Finally Turn Profit

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Contactless reader and NFC vendor On Track Innovations reported lower expenses and says it has positioned itself to earn more revenue from services in addition to its reader sales and possible NFC patent income–all in hopes of making the company profitable for the first time in its history. The question of when that will happen remains unanswered, however, and OTI doesn’t provide guidance.

Apple Strikes Back at Australian Banks Seeking to Bargain Collectively, Branding Them a ‘Cartel’

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Apple has responded to a request to regulators by four major Australian banks to jointly negotiate terms for their adoption of Apple Pay and to boycott participation during the negotiations with a strongly worded letter, branding the group’s proposed action worthy of a “cartel” that would “harm consumers, lead to less competition and less innovation and set a troubling precedent.”

Visa Policy on Alternate PANs Leaves Cardholders Out in the Cold in Taiwan

NFC Times Exclusive – Fourteen banks in Taiwan launched mobile payments using host card emulation late last week or plan to do so in coming weeks, but none of the cards that the banks’ customers can load into their new Android wallet apps will sport the Visa logo–one of the two main bank card brands in Taiwan. 

Reports: ZTE Pay to Join Crowded Mobile Payments Market in China

Sep 9 2016

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Credible reports say that Chinese smartphone manufacturer ZTE plans to join the “OEM Pay” club, and that the company has signed an agreement with payments network China UnionPay to deploy an NFC-enabled mobile payments service in China.

STMicroelectronics Sees Booster Technology as Way to Become Competitive in NFC Wearables, Smartphone Markets

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Chip maker STMicroelectronics is hoping its $77.8 million-plus acquisition of the NFC assets of Austria-based ams AG will help it accelerate its move into the Internet of Things market, especially for wearables.

Taiwan Banks to Launch Mobile Payments with HCE, but Only with Mastercard-Branded Cards, Using Local Tokenization

Aug 4 2016

NFC Times Exclusive Insight –  TAIPEI, Taiwan: More than a dozen Taiwanese banks and their mobile payments joint venture along with Mastercard plan to announce Thursday the launch of mobile payments using host card emulation, with more banks to follow.

NXP Reports Growth in NFC Revenue for Second Quarter Thanks to OEM Pay, Transit Ticketing in China

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – NXP Semiconductors reported growth in its Secure Connected Devices unit, which includes its NFC chips and secure elements, as the Netherlands-based chip maker is benefitting from the rollout of mobile payments services by smartphone OEMs and renewed interest in NFC transit ticketing in China.

Analysis: Apple Pay U.S. Transactions Growing but Base ‘Very Small’; and Rivals Not Apparently Catching Up

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Apple’s boast this week that its mobile payments service accounts for three out of four contactless payments in the U.S. says little about the number of contactless transactions it is recording stateside, but does indicate that Apple has maintained its lead over rival NFC-enabled wallets.

Swiss Competition Officials Decline to Investigate Apple Pay Antitrust Complaint for Now

NFC Times Exclusive – A few days ahead of the official launch of Apple Pay in Switzerland earlier this month, Swiss consumer protection group Konsumentenschutz SKS filed a complaint with the Swiss competition officials, contending that Apple’s policy of locking down the embedded chips in its NFC devices is “monopolistic” and is a violation of the country’s antitrust laws. The regulator, however, has declined to launch a formal investigation, deciding to continue to observe the market for now, NFC Times has learned.

Australian Banks Form Bloc to Counter Apple’s ‘Divide-and-Conquer Strategy

Aug 10 2016

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – In an unprecedented move, four major Australian banks, including three of the country’s big four financial institutions, have asked the

Mastercard’s Planned Acquisition of VocaLink Could Speed Up Commercial Launch of Zapp’s Mobile Payments Service

NFC Times Exclusive –  Mastercard’s planned acquisition of UK payments company VocaLink may offer the final boost needed for VocaLink’s Zapp unit to launch its long overdue mobile payments service, the Pay by Bank app.

HCE Mobile Wallet is a Must-Have, Says Polish Bank, But Usage Still Low

NFC Times Exclusive – The high penetration of contactless point-of-sale terminals and high use of contactless bank cards in Poland has spurred the launch of HCE mobile wallets by some Polish banks, but use does not appear to be taking off yet–at least if one bank’s project is any guide.

Apple Pay Launches In Hong Kong, Where Other NFC Services Have Failed to Take Off

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Apple followed its launch of Apple Pay in France Tuesday with a launch in Hong Kong today, its ninth market globally and fourth in the Asia-Pacific region.

Apple Pay Launches in France with Few Issuers and Tokenization from Visa and Mastercard

Jul 20 2016

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Apple Pay, as expected, has launched in France, its eighth market globally and third in Europe after the UK and Switzerland; but it launches with only one major bank in France, Groupe BPCE.

Analysis: Two NFC Wallets from Telco Joint Ventures to Close as SIM-Based NFC Takes Another Big Hit

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Telco joint ventures on opposite sides of the globe announced within hours of each other plans to pull the plug on their respective NFC wallets, marking another big hit for the future of SIM-based NFC.

Android Pay Launches in Australia with ANZ but Not Yet with Westpac or Other Big Four Banks

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Google has launched Android Pay in its fourth country, Australia, with one of the country’s big four banks, ANZ, but the launch was beset by delays that have kept another of the big four, Westpac, on the sidelines for now.

Analysis: Apple Sees Familiar Pattern with Apple Pay Launch in Switzerland

NFC Times Exclusive – Apple’s expansion into Switzerland late last week with its Apple Pay service followed a familiar pattern, as in many of the other new markets the tech giant has expanded its payments service in: support first comes from relatively small issuers while major banks hold out.

As Apple Pay Launch Looms, French Telcos Continue to Push SIM-Based NFC with TSM Hub

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – With the launch of Apple Pay imminent in France, telcos there are continuing to push SIM-based NFC technology, hiring a trusted service manager for their new NFC SIM “hub”–although No. 1 telco Orange will also support Apple Pay.

Taiwanese Telco Joint Venture Steers Course Away from TSM; JV President Blames Vendor Safran

Jul 11 2016

NFC Times Exclusive – Alliance Digital Technology Co., the joint venture of five Taiwanese mobile operators and transit fare-collection operator EasyCard Corp., is steering away from the TSM business, which was the reason it formed three years ago, NFC Times has learned. It will add a focus on providing mobile ID and authentication, the JV told NFC Times.

Deals

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

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.  

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.

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.

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.

Features

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.

Developers and UK Smart Ticketing Organization ITSO Look to HCE as Option for NFC Transit Ticketing

By: 
Istvan Fekete

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – As OEM Pay wallet providers try to get more transit operators to put their closed-loop ticketing applets onto the NFC embedded secure chips in their devices, there is growing interest in alternatives to enable mobile transit ticketing.

Are Security Fears Really Holding Reluctant Mobile Payments Users Back?

By: 
Chandra Lye

NFC TIMES Exclusive – The low number of mobile payment users may have little to do with security, one researcher says.

NFC Transit Ticketing Finally Starts to Get on Track after Years of Delays and Broken Promises

By: 
Dan Balaban

NFC Times Exclusive – NFC mobile transit ticketing–an application that once held much promise but has shown few results over the past decadefinally appears to be pulling out of the station, getting a boost from the growing interest in open-loop fare collection, the emergence of the “Pays” mobile payments services and increasing efforts by standards makers to solve basic interoperability problems between NFC phones and transit terminals.