Times Call For A New NFC Publication

After consumer electronics giants Philips Electronics and Sony Corp. announced the launch of Near Field Communication technology in 2002, the industry watched as NFC’s market prospects gradually descended from hype to hope, then disappointment to disillusionment.

What appeared to be a simple and compelling idea–consumers touching their phones to pay for coffee, ride the bus, download coupons or pass information to friends–has proved unexpectedly complex to bring to market. The massive rollouts of NFC, it seems, are always three years off; phones supporting the technology always scarce.

But the investment in NFC has continued and so have the trials. Now some major players appear poised to move.

BalabanFor example, in France, major mobile operators and banks, along with a number of other service providers, are preparing for a dress rehearsal this spring for an intended national launch in 2011. In the UK, major telcos and banks are gearing up for commercial launches well ahead of the 2012 “contactless Olympics" in London, while one of the largest transit operators in the world, Transport for London, has made it no secret it wants to have riders tapping NFC phones to cover fares by the end of 2010.

Elsewhere, in the U.S., NFC and other contactless-mobile launches are in the planning stages. And the technology is beginning to gather steam in Asia, as well. Later this year in China, mobile operators plan to showcase mobile ticketing and payment for the World Expo in Shanghai, including a large rollout of specially made contactless SIMs being issued by giant telco China Mobile. Over in Japan, there seems little question that telcos will move the world’s largest base of contactless-mobile payment and ticketing from strictly proprietary technology to NFC over the next few years.  

And then there is Apple. If Steve Jobs blesses NFC technology by putting it in the fourth-generation iPhone in the summer as expected–even just to simplify syncing of Apple devices–other phone makers and mobile operators are sure to follow with NFC introductions of their own.

Meanwhile, contactless stickers, microSD cards and other peripherals are starting to appear to fill the gap until NFC phones arrive. And high-end contactless cards continue their slow, inexorable spread across North America and to a lesser extent, Europe, while contactless hotspots in Asia expand.
 
But a nascent industry like this one needs a reliable and independent source of information. It needs a publication determined to set the agenda for coverage, not wait to be spoon-fed press releases and talking points. It needs a publication that will highlight successes, but also ask the tough questions when project launches or product introductions don’t turn out as planned.

NFC Times will be that publication. Produced by real journalists, NFC Times will offer exclusive news, analysis and commentary on NFC, contactless cards and related technology.

Here you will find a searchable database and interactive map plotted with more than 100 NFC and contactless-mobile trials and rollouts dating from 2003. This never-before-assembled database includes all the important uses of the technology–with facts and figures, context and commentary, on each project. The database will grow in step with the market.

You will also find profiles on a number of important industry players and suppliers, taking an unvarnished look at their NFC and related contactless activities and strategy. The profiles will also provide links to major projects along with key personnel and data. The list of profiles, too, will continue to grow.

But NFC Times will be anchored by news and analysis you won’t find anywhere else, delivered to you via this Web site, by free e-mail updates you can register for here and later by a subscription-based newsletter and premium Web content that will feature in-depth stories and data. We’ll complement this with other important news stories and commentary from external sites.

All this will give you the most complete source of information on NFC and related contactless technology available anywhere. The Times call for a new publication covering this industry, and NFC Times answers that call.  

February 2010

HEADLINE NEWS

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.