German Telcos Plan to Launch Payment Trial with Stickers

Three major German mobile operators plan to launch a trial of their own payment brand using contactless stickers in three cities before the end of the year, NFC Times has learned.

The operators, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone D2 and Telefónica (O2) Germany, plan to launch the trial in Bonn, Düsseldorf and Munich, Jörg Heuer, Deutsche Telekom’s project leader for field enabling technologies and exploration, told NFC Times. He leads Deutsche Telekom’s R&D team building the telco’s NFC mobile wallet.

The stickers will be branded with mpass, the Internet payment service that the three telcos operate. As NFC Times reported in February, the three operators have been in talks to introduce their own payment scheme, branded mpass, at the physical point of sale in Germany using NFC phones.

The passive stickers could be a first trial run of such a service. The German telcos have been planning the sticker trial since last year, targeting a 2011 launch date, as NFC Times reported last October.

The operators and their partners would have to install new terminals at merchant locations for the trial. Germany has few contactless point-of-sale terminals supporting any brand or application, including Visa payWave and MasterCard PayPass.

If they go through with the plan to roll out a new payment scheme, the German operators would attempt to bypass major German banks and established card networks, such as Visa and MasterCard. They would use their own banking or e-money license, a source, who is involved in the project, earlier told NFC Times.

The application could be included in an NFC mobile wallet that Deutsche Telekom plans to launch in Germany as early as this year, and wallets possibly planned by Vodafone Germany and Telefónica Germany.

It’s not clear whether the telcos are in talks to form a joint venture to introduce payment, as U.S. mobile carriers AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA did last year. T-Mobile USA is a unit of Deutsche Telekom, which AT&T is planning to acquire.

The U.S. telcos later abandoned plans to launch their own Isis-brand payment service, citing, among other reasons, the Durbin amendment of the Dodd-Frank financial reform act passed by the U.S. Congress. The amendment will roll back transaction fees merchants pay to payment issuers via acquirers on debit transactions.

Together, the three German operators have about 90 million subscribers. Vodafone D2 is part of UK-based Vodafone Group and O2 Germany is a branch of Spain-based Telefónica. O2 and Vodafone launched mpass in 2009 and Deutsche Telekom later joined.

Deutsche Telekom also has an entrée into the payments industry, and perhaps the licenses it needs, with its acquisition of the remaining shares last year of Internet service provider Firstgate, known for its ClickandBuy brand.

In announcing its NFC mobile wallet initiative in February, Thomas Kiessling, chief product and innovation officer, said the “area of payment systems is a major driver of growth for Deutsche Telekom.”

The announcement said that Deutsche Telekom plans to “introduce a whole portfolio of innovative and competitive payment solutions for customers and retailers starting in 2011. Applications include paying over the Internet as well as remote and proximity mobile payment.”

Deutsche Telekom plans to introduce the wallet to branch operators in Poland, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, though there is no indication that the telco plans to introduce any payment services of its own in these countries.

 

HEADLINE NEWS

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.

Apple Pay Expands Support for Interoperable Closed-Loop Transit Cards in China, Though Not First NFC Pays Wallet to Do So

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Apple on Wednesday expanded support for closed-loop transit payments across China, incorporating China’s T-Union interoperable transit cards in its Apple Pay service.

Insight: Virus Adds Urgency to Increasing Contactless Limits but Won’t Necessarily Drive Growth in Acceptance

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – While the Covid-19 virus outbreak is building awareness for contactless and NFC payments and is accelerating the increase in already low contactless transaction limits in Europe, it remains to be seen how much it will convince more merchants to accept contactless in the U.S.

Exclusive: After 10 Months, Sales of Public Transit Tickets in Uber App Still Make Up Small Share of Mobile Ticketing in Denver

Mar 24 2020

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Since last May, when ride-hailing service Uber officially began enabling customers to book and pay for public transit tickets in Denver directly in the Uber app, use of the service remains relatively low, accounting for less than 3% of all mobile tickets purchased by customers of Denver public transit agency RTD, NFC Times has learned.

Former Garmin Pay Technology Providers Sue Device Maker Claiming Unpaid Millions, Though Offer Scant Proof of Claims

NFC TIMES Exclusive –  The founders of former payments wearables provisioning company Fit Pay, which was acquired last September for $3.3 million by smartwatch and fitness band maker Garmin, have sued the device maker and two other parties, claiming they are owed millions in missed earn-out payments.

Helsinki to Roll Out Multimodal Contactless EMV Fare Payments, with Plans for Daily and Weekly Fare Capping

Mar 12 2020

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The Helsinki Regional Transport Authority plans to accept contactless EMV payments on its multimodal system, including its buses, metro, trams and ferries. The rollout, expected to be completed in 2023, will also support daily and weekly fare capping.  

Transport for London’s Lucrative Sponsorship Deal with Google Shows Value of ‘Point of Sale’ Real Estate at Fare Gates

NFC TIMES Exclusive insight – Transport for London’s recent deal with Google to put the Google Pay Logo on more than 5,600 contactless gate readers across the large London Underground network is not the first time that the London transit authority has rented out its prime payments real estate to sponsors. Nor is it the only transit agency that has profited from sponsorship deals tied to its contactless EMV transit payments services. 

Amazon Launches Largest Checkout-Free Store; Clerks and POS Terminal Vendors Need Not Worry…Yet

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Ecommerce giant Amazon expanded its no-checkout concept to its first “full-sized” supermarket Tuesday, in its headquarters city of Seattle, enabling shoppers to scan an app upon entering, pull products off of shelves and “just walk out,” with hundreds of cameras and numerous sensors having recorded everywhere the shoppers went in the store and everything they put into their shopping carts. A card on file in the app is charged as the customers leave.

Czech Banks See Growing Use of NFC Wallets with Smartphones and Wearables for Contactless Payments

Feb 18 2020

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Banks in the Czech Republic say they are seeing significant and growing use of NFC-enabled smartphones and wearables, ranging from 6% to nearly 25% of all contactless payments–three banks told NFC Times–although a large majority of consumers continue to tap their contactless cards, not NFC devices, for in-store payments.

Brussels Transit Operator Sees Need for Global Interoperability of Fare Payments; Compares Benefits to Mobile Roaming

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The head of information systems for a major European transit operator says he believes public transit agencies should support interoperable fare payments globally, like mobile network operators offer roaming when their customers travel abroad.

Oyster Card Here to Stay Despite Strong Growth of Contactless Fare Payments in London

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – As more and more transit authorities globally seek to emulate Transport for London’s success in gaining widespread adoption for contactless open-loop fare payments, they should take note that London’s closed-loop Oyster card remains popular, even among visitors to the city.

In-Depth: Tokenization Figures Demonstrate Majority of Mobile Payments Conducted Online

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight –  Recent research and forecasts have confirmed what industry observers already knew: Despite concerted efforts by the Pays wallets to gain widespread use of mobile payments in the U.S. at the physical point of sale, the large majority of mobile payments are conducted online, not by tapping NFC phones or wearables in stores.