Visa to Introduce microSD payWave Card

BARCELONA Visa Inc. will test contactless microSD cards with one or more banks during the second quarter, as it moves to satisfy what it said is “really high” demand from issuers for mobile-payment devices.

Visa today announced plans to market contactless microSDs carrying its payWave application, telling NFC Times the cards could serve as a bridge until the time NFC phones are available for contactless mobile payment. The card scheme made the announcement on the first day of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

“We still expect NFC to be the long-term solution,” Dave Wentker, Visa's head of mobile contactless, told NFC Times, adding it is still an open question as to “how long is the bridge” to broad availability of NFC phones.

Visa will offer cards to issuers from U.S.-based DeviceFidelity, which said it has developed a working contactless microSD that can conduct payWave transactions in 150 to 350 milliseconds, the same amount of time it takes to pay with conventional payWave cards. Consumers would have to hold their phones carrying the microSDs at between 1.5 to 3 centimeters from readers. That’s closer than the roughly 4-centimeter range of conventional contactless bank cards. The payment application would be stored on secure chips embedded in the SDs.

Deepak Jain, DeviceFidelity CEO told NFC Times the cards embed a 3-millimeter-by-9-mm contactless antenna in the tiny flash-memory cards, which pull power partly from the phone and partly from the contactless reader to complete the transaction. The payWave application would have to be preloaded on the cards at present, but by mid-2010, Visa applications could be downloaded over the air to the cards inserted in the phones, he said.

Jain declined to say whether Visa is investing in the company, which last October disclosed it was awarded a $3 million grant from the state government in its home base of Texas. The company is a a 2007 startup.

The Visa announcement with DeviceFidelity issuers comes after NFC Times reported last week that large U.S. third-party processor First Data was to sign an agreement with another U.S.-based maker of contactless SD cards, Tyfone. First Data was expected to announce plans to introduce the contactless microSD cards in about a month, along with the launch of its new trusted service manager unit. First Data is also expected to invest in Tyfone.

First Data told NFC Times the unit would be able to download contactless payment applications from all the major brands, including Visa, among other payment applications, to the SD cards as well as to NFC phones. Its customers for the cards are expected to be banks and other payments service providers.

Interest is growing in general in contactless microSDs among these issuers, as they wait for NFC. Unlike passive contactless stickers, payment or other applications on the SD cards can link to mobile-wallet applications on the phones, giving the consumers a pleasing user interface.

The applications can also communicate with the network, which means issuers could download and manage them over the air through trusted service managers and also send promotions tied to the payment applications. “Putting a sticker on a mobile phone is not necessarily a mobile-payment device,” a Visa spokeswoman told NFC Times.

Still, the contactless microSDs have not yet been market tested. And while they work in most handsets with microSD slots, if the slots are behind the phone battery, the transmissions would be blocked. Many BlackBerry models have their slots in just such a location. And the popular Apple iPhone has no SD slot at all.

The issuing model for microSD payment cards is also open to question. Since the payment SDs can pack an additional 2 gigabytes of flash storage for such content as videos, music and documents, banks may not be a natural issuer. Consumers might buy them in electronics stores or from mobile carriers.
 
Visa's Wentker, when asked, denied that Visa’s planned introduction of microSD payment cards was a shot at mobile operators or intended as a way for banks to offer mobile payment without involving telcos.

“Carriers are a very natural distribution party; they’re the largest distributor of flash cards today,” Wentker told NFC Times. “(But) if you want to distribute this through a traditional (payment) card bureau, you can. If you want to do it over the air, you could also do that.”

This premium content is only available to subscribers.
Article has about 730 words.

To Keep Reading, Subscribe Today

Get access to all premium content and the world’s first global newsletter devoted to the NFC and contactless markets by subscribing to NFC Times, the most authoritative source for news and analysis in the industry.

Subscription Options

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.