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

‘No Way We were Going to Ask for Half a Billion Dollars…’

Unlike other major transit agencies in the U.S., which have spent hundreds of millions of dollars replacing or upgrading their fare-collection systems, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has taken a different approach.

UK Bus Operator Go-Ahead Reports Cash Usage has Plummeted Because of Covid, While Contactless Transactions have Surged

The Go-Ahead Group, one of the big five privately owned public bus operators in the UK, said today it has seen cash usage on board the nearly 3,000 buses it runs in England outside of London fall to 23% of transactions, down from 53% three years ago.

Transit Operator Arriva Launches MaaS App in Netherlands; Hints at Expansion to Other European Countries

Arriva, one of the largest private transit operators in Europe, has launched a mobility-as-a-service app in the Netherlands, using white-label software from Israel-based trip-planning app provider

Cal-ITP: Agencies in California Could Hold ‘Several More’ Open-Loop Fare Payments Pilots

The California Integrated Travel Project, or Cal-ITP, is “on track to have at least several more” open-loop pilots or demonstration projects, a spokeswoman for the program told Mobility Payments.

Exclusive: Australia’s Transport for New South Wales Sees ‘Significant Increase’ in Use of Mobile Wallets by Riders

Mobile wallets now make up more than half of all contactless payments for Transport for New South Wales, Australia’s largest transit agency, the agency confirmed to Mobility Payments.

Start-Up Aims to Encourage More Taxi Drivers to Accept Bank Cards for Fares in Turkey

A Turkish start-up hopes to entice more taxi drivers to accept contactless credit and debit cards using SoftPOS terminals on Android smartphones, under a scheme being rolled out by the local fintec

Moscow Metro Launches Test of Facial Recognition Fare Payments Ahead of Rollout; Agency Says Masks Can Slow Verification

Moscow Metro announced that it is officially testing facial recognition-based fare payments at turnstiles, with plans to roll out the technology by the end of the year.

Major Transit Agency to Test Virtual Closed-Loop Cards with Google Pay

Aug 8 2021

Moscow Metro is launching a trial of a virtual version of its closed-loop Troika card that will be added to the Google Pay wallet, the agency announced Wednesday.

WMATA in D.C. Rolling Out New Terminals but has No Immediate Plans to Support Open Loop

The Washington (D.C.) Metropolitan Area Transit Authority last month started to replace 1,200 aging fare gates for its 91-station metro system and starting next year will do the same with 20-plus year-old fareboxes on board 1,500 buses, including upgraded readers for its closed-loop SmarTrip cards.

Visa Touts Growth in Contactless, Continues to Push Open-Loop Payments

Visa reported this week that contactless payments continued to climb as a percentage of all face-to-face transactions with its brand, mainly at retail, and among the uses the network is continuing to push for contactless is to pay for transit fares.

MaaS Global CEO: Transit Agencies Should Not Control MaaS Platforms

Sampo Hietanen, founder and CEO of Finland-based MaaS Global, agrees with most other industry experts that public transit should form the “core” of the mobility services on offer in any MaaS app or platform. But he contends that it would be a mistake for the agency itself to control the platform.

Case Study: German City First to Go Live with Check-in/be-out System in Country

Despite the growing popularity of contactless, NFC and QR-code technologies for electronic fare-collection, some transit agencies are experimenting with other technologies to collect fares.