Association Française du Sans Contact Mobile (AFSCM)


The French have been doing a lot of deep thinking about how NFC should work when it’s rolled out.

Led by the country’s three major mobile operators, they’ve set up a number of working groups to discuss--often in great detail--what should happen when, for example, a subscriber loses his NFC mobile phone with an e-wallet full of contactless services. Or how he should authenticate himself for higher-value contactless mobile purchases.

And the linchpin of this NFC-by-committee system is the Association Française du Sans Contact Mobile, or AFSCM. The group is charged with making sure any of France’s nearly 60 million mobile subscribers will be able to use their NFC phones with any mobile operator or service provider offering mobile contactless services anywhere in the country. 

The group, formed in April 2008 by France Telecom-Orange, SFR, and Bouygues Telecom is setting specifications for interoperability of NFC handsets, NFC-enabled SIM cards, NFC tags and the technical interfaces operators, service providers and trusted service managers will use to communicate.

The group is also issuing guidelines on how mobile operators, banks and other players will promote NFC, including introducing its own acceptance mark for tags in smart posters or other touch points. The telcos have let some key service providers and vendors into the group.

On top of this foundation, the mobile operators hope specifications from other working groups they’ve formed with French banks (L’Association Européenne Payez Mobile), transport operators (Ulysse) and merchants and related organizations (Ergosum) will further define how consumers do mobile payment, transport ticketing, loyalty programs and use other services.

Without an interoperable NFC infrastructure among mobile operators, service providers and vendors–dubbed “coopetition” by some of the operators–NFC won’t fly, say the backers. And they hope to spread the French way throughout Europe and to other countries that launch NFC. The first test of specifications from the AFSCM and other French working groups will be on display during a demonstration project planned for spring 2010 in the French Mediterranean city of Nice, what organizers are calling the “NFC City.”

It seems unlikely telcos, banks and other service providers elsewhere will gather around the same table and agree to ground rules before they launch NFC with the same enthusiasm as the French. And it remains to be seen if the French committee system will lead to nationwide rollouts.

Key NFC Personnel: 
Pierre Noizat, general delegate
Brigitte Bourgoin, (France Telecom-Orange) chairwoman
Last Updated: 
Mar 2010


Brussels Latest European Capital to Launch Open-Loop Fare Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Major Brussels transit operator STIB-MIVB plans to begin accepting contactless EMV credit and debit cards and NFC wallets on Wednesday, the latest European capital to launch open-loop payments following the success of the technology as demonstrated in London.

In-Depth: Boston Transit Agency Seeks to Put Massive Fare-Collection Project Back on Track

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The massive new fare-collection system planned by Boston’s Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, or MBTA, which will include open-loop contactless payments and an expanded closed-loop program, has had trouble getting off the ground. Late last week, the transit agency finalized its “reset” of the project, agreeing to increase the contract by nearly 30% to just over $935 million and to add two more years to the rollout schedule–all in hopes of getting the project back on track.

With E-Commerce Skyrocketing, Tokenized Transactions Expected to Soar, as Well

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – As more consumers buy online, and to a lesser extent use mobile wallets for in-store purchases, because of the coronavirus pandemic, tokenized card transactions are expected to increase dramatically.  

Software-as-Service Platforms for Transit Agencies Begin to Support Open-Loop Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – In what is believed to be a first, a transit agency in Europe plans to accept contactless credit and debit cards using a third-party software-as-a-service platform this summer, UK-based platform provider Masabi told NFC Times, although the company declined to name the agency. The project is expected to begin as a pilot.

Apple Launches Overdue Octopus Payments Service in Hong Kong, as It Continues to Seek More Transit Applications for Wallet

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Apple today finally launched its Octopus transit payments service in Hong Kong on Apple Pay, nearly a year after the service was originally announced and more than two years after rival Samsung introduced a similar service in the market.

Mastercard: Contactless Payments in Europe Approach 80% of Card Transactions; Pandemic Causes More Consumers to Shun Cash

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – While contactless payments in Europe were already commonplace and continue to grow, the Covid-19 pandemic has created even more interest in the technology among consumers, according to a report released Thursday by Mastercard. The report includes a survey showing that consumers in eight major European markets say they use NFC-enabled smartphones and wearables for a combined 32% of all contactless transactions, a spokeswoman confirmed to NFC Times.

UPDATED: Ohio-Based Transit Agency Group Planning to Enable Mobile Ticketing Through Uber App

Jun 3 2020

NFC TIMES Exclusive – A consortium of 13 small and mid-tier transit agencies in Ohio and Northern Kentucky plans to enable customers to buy public transit tickets directly in the Uber app as early as this summer, following two other U.S. transit agencies, in Denver and Las Vegas, which have already integrated with Uber.

Samsung Details Planned Mobile-Money Service as It Seeks to Keep Pace with Rival Apple Pay

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Samsung offered more details today about its Samsung Money debit card and “mobile-first” money management service for its Samsung Pay app, which it plans to launch in the U.S. this summer with personal finance fintech SoFi. Samsung had disclosed plans for the new service earlier this month.

Networks: Contactless Transactions Soar as Pandemic Takes Toll on Cash

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – In announcing their respective quarterly results this week, both Visa and Mastercard, as expected, discussed the major disruption that Covid-19 is wreaking on the payments business. But they also noted that there is one unexpected victim of the pandemic: cash.

Prompted by Pandemic Fears, Last of Australia’s Big Four Banks Ends Apple Pay Holdout

May 12 2020

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Citing the increased demand for cashless payments because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Westpac today became the last of Australia’s big four banks to adopt Apple Pay, ending a four-year holdout that had lasted months, even years longer than its major rivals.

Insight: MaaS Backers Believe New Mobility Platforms Could Help Transit Providers Win Back Their Customers’ Trust

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – With Covid-19 lockdowns causing mass transit ridership in many cities to virtually fall off a cliff–with such cities as London, New York and San Francisco reporting drops of more than 90%–transport providers worry that some riders may not come back, even after the pandemic ends.

In-Depth: Government Regulation of Mobility-as-a-Service Seen as Necessary to Encourage Widespread Adoption

Apr 16 2020

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Government legislation will likely be needed for widespread adoption of Mobility-as-a-Service, or MaaS, to occur, according to UK-based Juniper Research, which believes that the regulations will be necessary to force MaaS providers, including transit service providers, to work together, as well as to persuade users to get out of their cars to cut carbon emissions.