Dan Balaban's blog

From ‘Sixpack’ to Fragmentation in the Netherlands

NFC Times Exclusive – The thinking behind the planned NFC joint venture among the three largest telcos and three biggest banks in the Netherlands back in 2010 was that companies controlling a combined 80% or 90% of their respective markets would be able to cover nearly all Dutch mobile subscribers and banking customers with their forthcoming mobile payments services, thus avoiding fragmentation.

Apple Pay to Launch in China as Early as Next Week; UnionPay Expected to Pay Fees

NFC Times Exclusive – UPDATE: Apple Pay was expected to launch in China sometime before the beginning of Lunar New Year, but now one or more sources in China say they expect it to happen as early as next week, nearly three weeks before New Year’s Day, which is Feb. 8. 

Analysis: Gemalto’s Samsung Pay Deal Likely Small; Vendor’s MFS Unit Struggles after Softcard Collapse

NFC Times Exclusive – Gemalto’s deal to supply TSM technology for Samsung Pay when the mobile-payments service launches in Europe, which Gemalto announced today, might net some favorable coverage for the vendor, but it will do little to help its struggling mobile financial services unit.

MCX Merchant Group Changes Leadership as It Faces Growing Pressure to Launch

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Retailer consortium MCX didn’t fire its CEO, Dekkers Davidson, because one of its major founding merchants, Best Buy, snubbed the group by agreeing to accept Apple Pay. But that was probably the last straw.

Apple CEO Proclaims ‘Year of Apple Pay,’ Though Offers Few Facts to Back it Up; Yet Platform Provides Twin Breakthroughs

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – In his usual gushing tone, Apple CEO Tim Cook proclaimed 2015 as the “year of Apple Pay,” though he gave few meaningful details on actual use of the new payments platform since it was launched three months ago or on merchant acceptance or Apple’s expansion plans outside of the U.S.

Why it Would Make Little Sense for Google to Buy Softcard, Unless Perhaps it Gets Preloaded App

Google is almost certainly in talks with Softcard to acquire the joint venture from its telco owners, but the question is, what would Google gain from such a deal?

Former Isis CMO: Onerous TSM Requirement Kept Banks Away from Wallet

UPDATED: NFC Times Exclusive – Ryan Hughes, former chief marketing officer for the Isis joint venture, said he recalls sitting in weekly prioritization meetings on Friday afternoons, and when representatives from the mobile carriers that own Isis would ask why the JV was not making more progress in its rollout, he knew where to point the finger.

For One Apple Pay Issuer, It’s All about Ubiquity and Speed

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – After Capital One dropped out of the Isis wallet last year, the large U.S. credit card issuer let it be known that one of the biggest reasons it was snubbing Isis was that it believed it had to cede too much control to the third-party wallet provider. 

How Apple Will Likely Implement NFC Mobile Payments; Hint: TSMs Need Not Apply

UPDATED: There’s little doubt now that Apple will support NFC and mobile payments in its next iPhone. The remaining question is exactly how it will do so.

IPhone NFC Buzz Grows Louder, Could be More than Speculation

There is no confirmation yet that Apple will adopt NFC for the forthcoming iPhone 6, but some sources have told NFC Times they believe there is substance to the rumors that Cupertino is finally ready to adopt the technology this year.

HEADLINE NEWS

German Transit Agency Plans to Complete Open-Loop Rollout on Buses and Trains This Quarter, Expand to Other Mobility Later

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – German transit agency SWB Bus and Bahn plans to fully roll out its contactless EMV fare payments service BONNsmart to its bus and train lines by the end of the first quarter, after launching a pilot last fall, confirmed a spokesman, who added that plans call for eventually expanding the contactless service to payments for parking and such micromobility modes as e-scooters.

Large Private U.S. Bus Company Latest to Adopt Mobile Ticketing in Covid Era

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Academy Bus, a large private commuter and charter bus company serving the U.S. East Coast, has launched its first mobile-ticketing service with the SilverPass app, enabling commuters to purchase digital tickets with credit cards or employer benefit cards.

LA Transit Authority Introduces Virtual TAP Card on Android, Complementing Earlier Launch with Apple

Feb 2 2021

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or Metro, has followed through with plans to offer Android NFC phone users a way to pay fares with the agency’s TAP closed-loop fare card.

Penetration Rates for Contactless Payments Saw Strong Growth in 2020, including in U.S., Say Networks

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The CEOs of both Visa and Mastercard in their respective earnings calls yesterday confirmed that contactless payments continued to grow as a share of all face-to-face card payments, with consumer fears of handling cash building on already strong growth trends for the technology.

Moscow Metro Sees Continued Growth in Open-Loop Transactions Despite Fall in Ridership from Covid

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The Moscow Metro saw a large increase in contactless open-loop transactions in 2020, despite a sharp fall in ridership because of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Roman Latypov, a first deputy CEO for the transit agency.

Visa Increases Support for Analog Watches and Other Passive Wearables

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Visa is supporting another provisioning company, Sweden-based Fidesmo, to deliver and manage Visa-generated tokens to passive wearables, such as analog designer watches, keyrings and bracelets. The move, which follows Visa’s support in recent months for at least one other provisioning company serving an analog watchmaker, promises to expand use of payments wearables to more issuers, markets and devices.  

U.S. Transit Agency in Pennsylvania Latest to Launch Mobile and Smart Card Ticketing with SaaS Platform

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – A mid-tier U.S. transit agency in Pennsylvania is the latest to introduce mobile ticketing with an option for riders to use smart cards to pay for fares, using a software-as-a-service ticketing platform from a start-up.

New York’s MTA Hits OMNY Milestone as Contactless EMV Transactions Continue to Grow

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority has recorded more than 35 million contactless transactions since it launched its OMNY open-loop fare payments service in May of 2019, and usage continues to increase.

Milan Transit Operator Plans to Give Contactless EMV Fare Payments Larger Role, Including Use with Planned MaaS Platform

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Milan’s public transit operator, Azienda Trasporti Milanesi, or ATM, which began accepting contactless credit and debit cards on its four-line metro in 2018, has begun to expand the EMV payments service to buses. But the agency has much larger plans for the technology.

Boston Transit Authority Makes Aggressive Move to Eliminate Cash in Planned Fare-Collection System

NFC TIMES EXCLUSIVE Insight – The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, or MBTA, in Boston plans to completely do away with cash fare payments on its various transport modes when it rolls out its massive new fare-collection system, an MBTA official told attendees during a recent virtual conference.

Israel Launches Nationwide Mobile-Ticketing Scheme; Moovit, Others Provide Apps

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Israel this week launched a nationwide mobile-ticketing system, enabling riders to pay for trips on buses and later on railways, with the charges assessed at the end of each month.

In-Depth: Networks Developing New Uses for SoftPOS, Though Questions Remain about Interoperability and Costs of Technology

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – While the idea of letting merchants use their own NFC-enabled smartphones and tablets as acceptance devices to take contactless EMV payments is still getting off the ground, some major payments networks are already working on expanding the technology to enable consumers to tap their own devices to pay.