China UnionPay to Launch NFC Mobile-Payment with HTC Android Phone

Aug 12 2011

Chinese bank card network China UnionPay has announced plans to introduce a mobile-payment service using an NFC-enabled Android phone from Taiwan-based handset maker HTC.

The phone, reported by Taiwan’s Central News Agency as the HTC Stunning, will enable users to do contactless payments, along with mobile banking and bill payment.

A report in the China-based English-language publication China Daily said the phone could hit the market by September, though that could not be confirmed. It was unclear which banks would participate and if any mobile operators would be part of the project.

“Mobile phone users no longer have to bring their bank cards in the future because their smartphones can provide the same function," Chai Hongfeng, executive vice-president of China UnionPay, reportedly said at a news conference in Shanghai yesterday.

He reportedly said that UnionPay plans to begin to deploy mobile payment and related services in about a dozen Chinese cities with local banks. It would use UnionPay’s contactless payment application.

Update: China UnionPay has been drafting specifications to put its payment application on microSD cards in NFC phones, and the new HTC handset might support this, with an antenna built into the handset, not the microSD card. The NFC chip in the handset would be connected to the microSD card slot via some type of single-wire-protocol-like connection. End update.

In a meeting held by UnionPay last April, and attended by representatives of HTC and mobile operators, among other mobile-commerce players in China, HTC discussed plans for an NFC phone supporting the single-wire protocol, or SWP, which could store applications on SIM cards. It’s not clear if the new HTC NFC phone announced in China yesterday is the same one discussed earlier this year.

HTC in January said it invested US$5.5 million in mobile-financial services provider Shanghai F-road Commerce Service, and F-road Commerce will reportedly work on the project with HTC and China UnionPay. 

“HTC believes that mobile payments will become an indispensable function for smartphones, and we expect to jointly establish a complete industry chain of mobile payments based on such strategic alliances," Fred Liu, president of HTC engineering and operations, said in the statement, Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported.

Update: The news agency in a follow-up report, said that Steve Wang, associate vice president of HTC’s mobile application and software design, reportedly called for a uniform mobile-payment system among Taiwanese banks, urged the government to kick-start the process and said interest seems to have waned among Taiwanese mobile operators in NFC.

But, in fact, Taiwanese telcos have met to possibly form a consortium to help them roll out NFC services, NFC Times has reported. Among payment companies interested are fare-collection and retail-payment provider EasyCard Corp., which would compete with banks. Banks would likely use MasterCard PayPass or Visa payWave as a mobile-payment application. One or more of the Taiwanese telcos, including Chunghwa Telecom, the largest operator, may launch NFC services before the end of the year. End update.

UnionPay last year also formed a Mobile Payment Alliance that included 18 national and local banks. The payment network, which has a monopoly on domestic bank-card transactions, also announced last year it would step up the rollout of contactless point-of-sale terminals, especially in Shanghai. UnionPay had a deal with No. 2 mobile operator China Unicom to launch an NFC project last year with banks, the Bank of China and Bank of Communications

China Mobile, the country’s largest mobile operator, is also gearing up for NFC-based mobile payments, having abandoned plans for its nonstandard RF-SIM technology. Last year the telco bought a 20% stake in Shanghai Pudong Development Bank. NFC Times has learned that China Mobile is considering buying NFC phones with embedded secure elements.

HEADLINE NEWS

Ohio Transit Agency Expects Significant Revenue Loss as it Builds Equity with Fare Capping

The Central Ohio Transit Authority, or COTA, officially launched its new digital-payments service Monday, including a fare-capping feature that the agency estimates will cost it $1.8 million per year in lost fare revenue, the agency confirmed to Mobility Payments.

Special Report: Interest Grows in ‘White-Label EMV’ for Closed-Loop Transit Cards

As more transit agencies introduce open-loop fare payments, interest is starting to grow in use of white-label EMV cards that agencies can issue in place of proprietary closed-loop cards for riders who don’t have bank cards or don’t want to use them to pay fares.

Swedish Transit Agency Launches Express Mode Feature for Apple Pay, though Most Ticketing Still with Barcode-Based App

Skånetrafiken, the transit agency serving one of Sweden’s largest counties, announced today it has expanded its contactless open-loop payments service to include the Express Mode feature for Apple Pay.

Major Bus Operators in Hong Kong Now Accepting Open-Loop Payments–Adding More Competition for Octopus

Two more bus operators in Hong Kong on Saturday launched acceptance of open-loop contactless fare payments, with both also accepting QR code-based mobile ticketing–as the near ubiquitous closed-loop Octopus card continues to see more competition.

Moscow Metro Launches Full Rollout of ‘Face Pay;’ Largest Biometric Payments Service of Its Kind

Touting it as the largest rollout of biometric payments in the world, Moscow Metro launched its high-profile “Face Pay” service Friday, as expected, and predicted that 10% to 15% would regularly us

Indonesian Capital Seeks to Expand to Multimodal Fare Collection and MaaS

Indonesia’s capital Jakarta, whose metropolitan area is home to more than 30 million people, is notorious for its stifling traffic congestion. In response, the government metro and light-rail networks and now it is funding an expansion of the fare-collection system to enable more multimodal payments and to build a mobility-as-a-service platform.

Exclusive: NFC Wallets Grow as Share of Contactless Fare Payments and Not Only Because of Covid

Transit agencies that have rolled out open-loop contactless payments are seeing growing use of NFC wallets to pay fares, as Covid-wary passengers see convenience in tapping their phones or wearables to pay.

Paris Transit Authority Moves Closer to Rolling Out Mobile Ticketing on Range of Android Phones

Large Paris regional transit authority Île-de-France Mobilités is finally moving closer to supporting mobile ticketing on a range of Android phones using host-card emulation technology from Google, after having rejected the technology as not secure enough.

Exclusive: Share of Contactless Rides Paid for with Apple Pay and other Pays Wallets in Manchester More than Doubles in Two Years

Transport for Greater Manchester in the UK is the latest transit agency seeing substantial growth of contactless open-loop fare payments from NFC mobile wallets–with the percentage of its contactless tram trips paid for with Apple Pay, Google Pay and other Pays services more than doubling over the past two years, NFC Times' sister publication Mobility Payments has learned.

Fifth Transit Agency to Conduct Open-Loop Payments Trial, Testing California’s ‘Mobility Marketplace’

California transit agency Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District said it plans to launch a pilot of contactless open-loop payments in early 2022, as it seeks to increase customer convenience and reduce use of cash on board its buses, NFC Times' sister publication Mobility Payments has learned.

In-Depth: Contactless Transactions Soar, but Transport for London Affirms that Oyster Will Remain Payments Option

Contactless open-loop payments have surged in recent months for Transport for London, returning to their steep growth trajectory before the pandemic, and now account for 70% of all pay-as-you-go, or PAYG, trips on the London Underground and two-thirds of PAYG trips on buses. And contactless has surpassed 50% of all trips–including those made with season tickets (see chart below).

Transport for London to Offer Weekly Fare Capping with Oyster Cards; Move Expected to Drive Even More Riders to Pay as You Go

In a move expected to make Transport for London’s pay-as-you-go model even more dominant and further erode support for season tickets and other period travel passes, the agency today said it will i