Foursquare to Test NFC at Google Developer Conference

Location-based social networking site foursquare announced today it would test NFC-based check-ins at Google’s I/O 2011 developer conference in San Francisco, which kicks off Tuesday with thousands of developers expected.

Foursquare, which mainly uses GPS-enabled smartphones to let users check in at bars, restaurants, stores and other venues, said it has been working with Google to set up smart posters embedded with NFC tags throughout the Moscone Center, where the conference is being held.

Users with NFC-enabled Android phones, which currently consists of only Google’s Nexus S, can tap the posters to check in with foursquare, according to the startup’s blog. People who check in will get a Google I/O badge. Foursquare awards “badges” or titles to users for checking in at certain venues.

Foursquare, which announced last year it had 6.5 million members, has also said it has tested NFC at its headquarters.

“We think a lot about the future of location, and every time a new technology comes along, we think about how it affects what we’re doing,” said foursquare in the blog. "Near Field Communication is one of those technologies; you tap your phone against a marker, and it can check you in with foursquare.”

Foursquare added that while NFC is a “long way from being available everywhere and in all phones,” the startup is “excited by some of the potential.”

Other location-based social networking sites are experimenting with NFC. For example, Beijing-based startup Jiepang, which bears a strong resemblance to foursquare, the latter reportedly blocked in China, enables users to check in at venues and share their locations with friends. Also 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.

Jiepang tested NFC-based check-ins at a recent music festival in Beijing.

Facebook is also reportedly testing NFC for its Facebook Places check-in service. And there are smaller location-based social networking companies getting involved. That includes Finnish start-up 6Starz, which plans to launch a trial this summer enabling users to tap their NFC phones to check in at restaurants and other establishments and to chat and exchange profile details with new friends.

Other NFC announcements are possible at Google’s I/O 2011. Google is strongly backing NFC, with plans to roll out NFC-based mobile commerce at retail stores in the United States and abroad. It has incorporated NFC in its current Android smartphone operating system and is encouraging Android device makers to support NFC. 

Google has already started rolling out NFC-based check-in for its Google Places service. Consumers with Android NFC smartphones can download the Google Places app and touch their devices to stickers or decals that merchants affix to their storefronts. By tapping, users can access information about the local business, including phone numbers, hours of operation, payment types, reviews and recommendations.

HEADLINE NEWS

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.

Planned Account-Based Ticketing Project Remains on Track in Queensland; Expected to Give Customers More Ways to Pay

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The new account-based ticketing system under development for the Australian state of Queensland remains on track and on budget to be fully rolled out by 2022, despite the challenges of working through the Covid-19 pandemic, Martin Bradshaw, project head and general manager for passenger transport strategy and technology for transit agency TransLink, told NFC Times through a spokesman.

Insight: Taiwan’s Dominant Fare-Collection Service Struggles to Stay Competitive in Changing E-Payments Landscape

NFC TIMES Exclusive – EasyCard Corp. remains the dominant contactless stored-value card in Taiwan, boasting of market shares above 70% in transit fare payments and retail transactions nationally amid competition from three other contactless closed-loop cards that vie for transit and low-value retail transactions across the island nation.

In-Depth: California Transport Group Launches Mobile Ticketing, Plans MaaS Rollout

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Officials in California’s Central Valley have launched an app that enables users to buy mobile tickets for bus and rail rides with seven mostly small public transit agencies, with plans to expand to ticketing for electronic car and bike sharing, along with on-demand ride-sharing and van-pool services.

UPDATED: Google Pay Launches with Fintechs in 10 New Countries, as Search Giant Unveils Revamped App; Deeper Move into Financial Services in U.S.

Nov 19 2020

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Google Pay has added its first new countries in 18 months, all of them in continental Europe and all counting digital banks and other fintechs as the vast majority of the issuers across the 10 new markets.

Transport for London Prepares for Major Fare-Collection System Contract

Nov 18 2020

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Transport for London, which runs the largest open-loop fare payments system globally, has issued a notice that it is preparing to seek proposals for a major upgrade of its revenue-collection system.

Visa and Mastercard See Continued Growth in Contactless Usage

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Both Visa and Mastercard say contactless transactions made up a growing share of all face-to-face transactions for cards and other credentials bearing their brands during the last fiscal quarter, crediting in part an increasing aversion to cash by consumers because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Contactless usage rates, however, had been increasing by nearly the same rates before the pandemic.

Apple Pay Enables Ventra Closed-Loop Fare Card in Chicago after Long Delay

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Apple has finally made good on plans to enable fare payments through Apple Pay with the closed-loop Ventra card from the Chicago Transit Authority, or CTA, the latest major closed-loop card the tech giant has enabled in recent months.

Visa Rolls Out SoftPOS technology as It Seeks to Promote Acceptance of Contactless by More Small and Micro-Merchants

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight -  Visa is rolling out what it calls “Tap to Phone” technology to 15 global markets, as it seeks to enable millions of small and micro-merchants that now mainly take cash to also accept contactless EMV credit and debit cards and credentials on NFC devices.

Trip-Planning Apps Moovit and Transit Enable Ticketing and Payments for Another Transit Agency

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Multimodal trip-planning apps Moovit and Transit have introduced ticketing and payments in their apps for another North American transit agency, following an emerging trend for trip-planning apps to enable users to plan, book and pay for their rides all in one place. The app providers are offering the extra service as they seek ways to give users a better mobility-as-a-service experience.

Australia’s Commonwealth Bank Seeks to Expand Involvement in Public Transit and Other Mobility Payments Projects

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the acquirer and processor for the open-loop payments service rolled out by Transport for New South Wales in Sydney, says it is negotiating with transit officials in other Australian states to help launch similar payments services. It also hopes to be involved in payments for mobility-as-a-service platforms.