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    Archive: News in brief

    FitPay closes $3.1m round led by G&D

    February 5th, 2016

    Wearable payments provider FitPay has closed a US$3.1m seed funding round led by Giesecke & Devrient (G&D). “FitPay’s payment platform uses NFC technology combined with card network tokenization to interact with POS terminals at retail locations,” the company says. “FitPay’s Trusted Payment Manager platform allows contactless payment capabilities on a wide range of wearable devices.” FitPay developed a smartstrap to enable NFC payments on Pebble Time smartwatches in November 2015.

    Samsung looks into vein authentication

    February 5th, 2016

    A patent filed by Samsung describes how a sensor on a smartwatch or other wearable device could authenticate identity by reading the user’s vein structure. “A wearable device may capture an image of a portion or all of the user’s body and may identify the user wearing the wearable device based on the captured image,” the patent says. “For example, a smartwatch may be worn on the user’s wrist to capture an image of the user’s veins in order to identify a user.”

    Apple Pay available in more than 2m US retail locations

    February 5th, 2016

    Apple Pay is now available in more than 2m US retail locations, according to Bloomberg, with the Crate & Barrel, Chick-fil-A and Au Bon Pain chains also due to roll out the service soon. “In addition to pushing past its goal to make Apple Pay available in 1.5m retail locations by the end of 2015, the company said the feature’s in-app purchase volume more than doubled in the last six months of the year compared with the first half,” Bloomberg reports.

    Apple begins selling Square contactless reader

    February 4th, 2016

    Apple has begun selling mobile POS provider Square’s US$49 contactless readers in its US stores as well as online. Square unveiled the NFC mPOS terminals during Apple’s WWDC in June 2015 and offered the first 250,000 free of charge. It began shipping devices in December.

    Viber to add money transfers to messaging app

    February 4th, 2016

    The more than 664m users of messaging app Viber will soon be able to send money to friends and family from anywhere in the world thanks to an integration with money transfer network Western Union. Users will need to add their debit, credit card or bank account to fund the transfers, which can be sent to Western Union locations for collection or transferred to a mobile wallet or bank account.

    European Central Bank to develop P2P service

    February 4th, 2016

    The European Central Bank is working on a system that would let consumers transfer money to each other based on a phone number or email address. “Immediately after transfer, the money is in the account of the receiver, regardless of the bank of the receiver or where he lives,” RTL Z reports. “Thanks to this system, you no longer have to remember your IBAN [international bank account] number or enter the recipient’s IBAN number.”

    Charity goes contactless for World Cancer Day

    February 4th, 2016

    UK consumers can make a £2 donation to Cancer Research UK by tapping their contactless card against small portable readers being launched in London, Glasgow, Liverpool and Leeds as part of today’s World Cancer Day fundraising campaign. The charity trialled contactless donations in shop windows in January 2015 and is currently working with The UK Cards Association to develop the next generation of contactless collection tins.

    Amazon Echo adds Domino’s pizza orders

    February 4th, 2016

    US customers of pizza chain Domino’s can now speak their orders into Amazon’s Echo voice-driven home shopping device, which is supported by virtual assistant Alexa. Customers can enable the service within the Amazon Alexa app by linking their account to their Domino’s profile. They can then place orders with their voice and get updates on its progress by telling Alexa the phone number associated with their order.

    GlobalPlatform updates NFC SIM spec

    February 3rd, 2016

    Standards body GlobalPlatform has extended the scope of UICC Configuration, its implementation guide for deploying GlobalPlatform Card Specification v2.3 within the mobile services sector and managing the secure, over-the-air delivery of new services. “The requirements are in support of the 4G network and enhanced security (Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)-based secure channels),” GlobalPlatform told NFC World. “These cover a new scenario for the confidential loading of service providers’ keys.”

    Russian mobile payments startup raises US$3.8m

    February 3rd, 2016

    Russian mobile payments startup PayQR has received an investment of 300m rubles (US$3.8m) from businessman Sergey Kozlovsky. “PayQR allows you to pay without a credit card and cash with the help of the so-called QR code,” Vedomosti reports. “In 2016, PayQR will also work via NFC.” The company raised US$1.5m from an unknown investor in 2014.

    NXP updates NFC Taginfo app

    February 2nd, 2016

    PARTNER NEWS: An Android app described as a “Swiss Army knife for NFC” has been updated and can now also interrogate Mifare Plus SL3 cards. NXP’s NFC Taginfo, now at version 4.15.100, can identify and read contents from all types of NFC tags as well as Mifare and iCode-based systems. It can also display the value remaining on travel cards issued by a range of international public transport systems.

    Guide offers advice for card issuers on implementing EMV

    February 2nd, 2016

    A 12-page guide to EMV and the business case for implementing an advanced EMV solution is now available to download from the NFC World+ Knowledge Centre. ‘EMV: The stepping stone to mobile’ has been produced by mobile payments specialist Proxama and examines the opportunities and benefits for card issuers who look past minimum compliance to a fully featured EMV solution.

    Ugo Wallet adds P2P transfers

    February 1st, 2016

    Canadian open NFC mobile wallet provider Ugo has launched a beta version of Ugo Pay, a P2P money transfer feature that has been added to its Ugo Wallet. “Transfers are free and made securely and easily via text message using either a sender’s existing address book or by inputting any Canadian mobile phone number,” Ugo says. The company is also in the process of incorporating host card emulation (HCE) into its service.

    Uber China adds cross-border Alipay support

    February 1st, 2016

    Chinese consumers using taxi hailing app Uber will soon be able to pay for their journeys using Ant Financial’s mobile payment platform Alipay when travelling abroad. “The partnership will enable riders from mainland China to use their Alipay accounts to pay for Uber rides when they’re travelling in other regions,” Uber China says. “Uber riders have been able to use Alipay to pay for their rides in mainland China since 2014.”

    Bank of America and Wells Fargo to add NFC to ATMs

    February 1st, 2016

    Bank of America and Wells Fargo are working on integrating NFC into their ATMs to let customers complete transactions using their smartphones and services such as Apple Pay, according to TechCrunch. “Engineers at both companies have been placed on multi-month assignments to build the Apple Pay options,” the publication says. Reports that the banks were working on mobile at the ATM first surfaced in December 2015. JPMorgan Chase is also working on adding NFC to its ATMs.

    Visa took majority of European contactless payments in 2014

    January 29th, 2016

    Visa PayWave accounted for 61% of the 1.4bn contactless payments made in Europe in 2014, research from RBR reveals, with MasterCard PayPass accounting for the “vast majority” of the remainder. “Contactless has spread rapidly in Europe and RBR forecasts the payment volume to increase nine-fold between 2014 and 2020,” the firm adds.

    WeChat Wallet launches pilot in Hong Kong

    January 29th, 2016

    Chinese ecommerce giant Tencent is testing its WeChat Wallet service with users in Hong Kong. “Users who are part of the pilot programme will be able to link their Hong Kong credit cards to the service and purchase items using the WeChat app, including movie and flight tickets,” the South China Morning Post reports. “A source close to the company said it may take several months before the payment service is rolled out to all WeChat users in the city.” WeChat Wallet launched in South Africa in November 2015.

    LG Pay White Card will store multiple cards for use in-store and ATMs

    January 29th, 2016

    LG has developed an electronic ‘LG Pay White Card’ that will let users register multiple credit cards onto a single piece of plastic for in-store payments and ATM withdrawals. The device is about the same size as a normal credit card, ETNews reports, and has a small LCD display, buttons to select which virtual card to use and a connector for recharging. The handset maker confirmed in November 2015 that it is working on launching its own mobile payment service.

    JPMorgan Chase looks to NFC ATMs

    January 28th, 2016

    JPMorgan Chase is to roll out ATMs that will let customers withdraw cash using their mobile phone. “The first generation of these ATMs will allow customers to access the machine by inputting a code found on their Chase mobile app,” CNBC reports. “Future upgrades of machines will allow customers to use their cellphone’s near-field wireless communication feature to access their accounts.” Wells Fargo and Bank of America are also working on mobile cash withdrawals at ATMs.

    Facebook may soon support Apple Pay

    January 28th, 2016

    Facebook is open to partnering with Apple Pay and other payment services in order to enable payments on its social media network, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has revealed. “We’ll partner with everyone who does payment,”  he explained during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call. “We look at the stuff that Apple is doing with Apple Pay for example as a really neat innovation in the space that takes a lot of friction out of transactions.”

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