Chinese Social-Networking Site Promotes NFC with Nokia Tie-in

Chinese social-networking site Jiepang has expanded its use of NFC, and has announced a tie-in with Nokia and the handset maker’s new line of affordable NFC-enabled smartphones.

A Jiepeng app will be preloaded on three smartphones Nokia announced this week for release during the third quarter, the Nokia 600, 700 and 701. All run the latest version of the Symbian operating system, nicknamed Belle.

Nokia, which announced the new phones Wednesday, sees NFC as a major selling point for its new Symbian phones as it tries to preserve interest in the platform while preparing to launch its first Windows-based smartphones later this year. It hopes to sell the latest models, the 600, 700 and 701, with prices starting at an unsubsidized €180 (US$260), in both developed, as well as developing markets, such as China.

Nokia apparently believes a tie-in with the popular Jiepang service could help in that effort. Neither Nokia nor Jiepang released financial terms of the tie-in, however.

That tie-in, announced in Hong Kong this week, would enable Jiepang users to check in at restaurants, stores and other places and share those locations with friends by tapping their phones on tags embedded in stickers that merchants can affix to their storefront windows and locations in their establishments.

Jiepang is modeled after the U.S.-based check-in site foursquare, which is reportedly blocked in China. Like foursquare, Jiepang users can earn badges or rewards for checking in, and they can redeem the rewards with merchants or for other prizes with consumer products partners. Foursquare has also experimented with NFC.

Jiepang said it plans to distribute NFC window stickers to merchants in four large mainland Chinese cities, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu, along with Hong Kong. Also, it said it will send stickers to merchants in Taipei, capital of the nearby island nation of Taiwan.

Jiepang has apps for other platforms, including Android and the iPhone’s iOS, so users with other standard NFC-enabled phones, such as Google’s Nexus S, should be able to check in by tapping their phones.

Jiepang trialed NFC-based check-ins at a music festival in Beijing in the spring and appears to have growing interest in the technology as a way to make check-ins easier. It sponsored a music video to promote the technology and promotional tie-in with Nokia. Jiepang CEO David Liu said in a statement that “NFC check-ins have a lot of user benefits,” adding that the company believes merchants will feel “comfortable rewarding check-ins, as they will know for sure that Jiepang users are actually physically in their stores."

NFC has more pinpoint accuracy than GPS and other technologies used for check-in services, but, of course, there are few NFC phones available yet.

The check-in service is the type of “open NFC" application Nokia has been pushing hard of late, especially using NFC’s tag-reading function. Nokia this week, for example, introduced an NFC-enabled Bluetooth headset, which users could tap with their NFC phones to easily pair the devices. The Finnish handset maker also has a promotional deal with Rovio, maker of the popular game Angry Birds, and is preloading the game on its new NFC-enabled Symbian handsets.

Nokia is also promoting peer-to-peer functionality in its C7 Symbian NFC phone and forthcoming Symbian NFC phones this year, such as the 600, 700 and 701. But as NFC Times reported, Nokia also plans to support payment in the phones starting in the first half of 2012. And its handsets based on Microsoft’s Windows Phone are expected to support NFC-based mobile wallets starting next year.

HEADLINE NEWS

Los Angeles Transit Authority to Support Closed-Loop TAP Card in Both Apple Pay and Google Pay

Jul 17 2020

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or Metro, plans to introduce an Android version of its TAP closed-loop fare card, with a virtual TAP card for the Google Pay wallet, a Metro spokesman confirmed to NFC Times.

Uber Expands Mobile Ticketing to More U.S. Public Transit Agencies

NFC TIMES Exclusive – As expected, Uber today has expanded support for public transit ticketing in its app again, this time to a consortium of 13 small and mid-tier transit agencies in Ohio and Northern Kentucky–following two other U.S. transit agencies, in Denver and Las Vegas, which have already integrated with Uber–it was announced today. NFC Times had reported the planned move in late May. 

Open-Loop Fare Payments Rollouts Continue Post-Lockdowns, with Italy’s Fourth Largest City Latest to Launch Service

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Another of Italy’s major cities has launched open-loop fare collection, with Turin enabling customers to pay for rides on its one-line metro and certain bus routes by tapping their contactless EMV credit and debit cards, along with smartphones and smartwatches supporting NFC payments services.

Calgary Transit Launches Mobile-Ticketing Service with Plans to Expand to Open Loop

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Canada’s third largest city, Calgary, has introduced its first electronic fare payments service, offering mobile ticketing from a software-as-a-service platform provider, with plans to enable customers to pay for fares with their contactless EMV credit and debit cards and NFC wallets.

As E-Commerce Surges, Major U.S. Payments Networks Announce Plans to Expand Click to Pay Globally

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – As e-commerce continues to grow in importance as Covid-19 lockdowns ease, four major U.S. payments networks announced today they are laying the groundwork to expand their uniform e-commerce checkout platform internationally.

Transit Payments Company Head: Apple and Google Positioned to Take Bigger Piece of Payments Industry

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The head of transit payments gateway and processor Littlepay said he believes that Apple and Google are well-positioned to take a “big bite out of the payment chain,” which could change their relationship with payments networks Visa and Mastercard from one of collaboration to one of competition.

Cubic Expands Agreement with Moovit, Seeking to Drive More Use of Mobile Apps by Transit Agencies

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – U.S.-based Cubic Transportation Systems and Israel-based trip planning app provider Moovit, now owned by Intel, have expanded their partnership to develop mobile services for transit agencies, seeking to enable transit customers to “look, book and pay” for multimodal journeys.

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.