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Archive: News in brief

iOS 8.1 brings Apple Pay NFC payments to iPhone

October 20th, 2014

Version 8.1 of iOS is now available for download, and brings with it the US consumer rollout of the Apple Pay mobile payments system. Apple Pay’s NFC payment capability is available to US-based owners of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus handsets and can be used at 220,000 stores nationwide that accept contactless payments. Last week Apple revealed that 500 banks have now signed up to offer the service to their customers.

Over 20m NFC devices now in use in Japan

October 20th, 2014

There are 20.55 million NFC mobile handsets in use in Japan according to new data compiled by the Mobile NFC Association. A total of 86 different NFC phones are currently available from the three main mobile network operators, NTT Docomo, KDDI and Softbank.

Bionym begins shipping wristband

October 20th, 2014

Canadian startup Bionym has begun shipping its Nymi wristband to partners and key developers after starting to take pre-orders in September last year. The wearable device uses the wearer’s unique cardiac rhythm to verify their identity and communicates with the world around it via BLE. “We’ll be sending out more information on the next steps of the shipping process to everyone who pre-ordered a Nymi band in the coming weeks,” the company says.

Amex commits $10m to EMV upgrades

October 20th, 2014

American Express is to launch a US$10m Small Merchant EMV Assistance Program in February 2015 to drive adoption of EMV. “We know from speaking with our smallest merchants that they are too busy running the day-to-day operations of their businesses to keep up with the constantly changing fraud landscape,” says Amex’s Anré Williams. “We’re launching this program to help educate small merchants about point-of-sale security and offset the cost of upgrading their terminals.”

Twitter preps for Buy button launch

October 20th, 2014

Twitter is planning to launch its new Buy button in the first quarter of 2015, VentureBeat reports, to let users make a purchase directly from a Tweet. The company began testing the service in September.

Capital One founder hails Apple Pay “breakthrough”

October 20th, 2014

Apple Pay is a “very important breakthrough”, Capital One founder and CEO Richard Fairbank has told analysts during the card issuer’s third quarter earnings call. Capital One decided to sign up for the launch of the program because it “offers good opportunity and upside for us”, he added. “We’re focused on delivering an exceptional user experience to our customers.”

Obama signs chip and pin law

October 20th, 2014

US President Barack Obama has signed an executive order “directing the government to lead by example in securing transactions and sensitive data” by adding chip and PIN security to payment cards. “He is calling on all stakeholders to join the Administration and a number of major corporations in driving the [US] economy toward more secure standards to safeguarding consumer finances and reduce their chances of becoming victims of identity theft — America’s fastest-growing crime,” the White House says.

Android 5.0 SDK now available

October 20th, 2014

The Android 5.0 SDK is now available to developers ahead of the scheduled launch of Android 5.0 ‘Lollipop’ in November. The software development kit includes finalised APIs and behaviours so developers can update their apps to take advantage of new features including enhanced BLE and NFC support.

Welsh museum tests iBeacons

October 17th, 2014

The National Roman Legion Museum in Caerleon, Wales, is using Bluetooth beacons to let visitors discover more about the collections on show on their mobile devices. The National Museum of Wales is testing the technology in partnership with People’s Collection Wales and app developer Locly. The move follows a successful first trial at the National Slate Museum in Llanberis.

Amex warns of slow mobile wallet adoption

October 17th, 2014

American Express has warned that mobile wallets are likely to see slow adoption, even for Apple and its customer base. “Mobile wallets have had the potential to change consumer behaviour for some years but it’s unlikely to be an overnight shot,” CFO Jeff Campbell said during the company’s third quarter earnings call. “It will take time even with Apple’s innovative technology and customer base.”

Alipay expands to USA

October 15th, 2014

Chinese online payments giant Alipay is offering US merchants the ability to accept payments from Chinese shoppers via a new service called ePass. The service lets retailers add Alipay as a checkout option and includes access to a “fast, reasonably priced” door-to-door shipping service. “Alipay ePass makes it simple for Western brands and retailers to profitably access the world’s largest ecommerce market,” the company says.

Line to offer messaging payments

October 14th, 2014

Instant messaging service Line has announced plans to offer mobile payments to users in Japan from later this year. Line Pay will support mobile payments in stores and online as well as splitting bills between friends. Transactions will be protected by a password and the service will make use of Touch ID to secure transactions made by iOS users.

Ireland’s Leap Card to get NFC top-ups

October 13th, 2014

Ireland’s National Transport Authority has awarded a contract to transit specialist Vix to enable Leap prepaid card users to top up their balance via NFC. The service will go live “over the coming year” and will let cardholders “use a special, free smartphone app to top-up their Leap Cards immediately (from their credit or debit cards) via the smartphone app, just by holding the card and the phone close to each other.”

Apple Pay to go live on 18 October?

October 13th, 2014

“An internal memo addressed to Walgreens employees designed to prepare them for the upcoming launch of Apple Pay suggests that Apple’s new payments service might be going live on Saturday, October 18,” MacRumours reports. Apple has also begun preparing its own retail employees for the upcoming launch, adds 9to5Mac, which has been sent Apple Store training materials “by a reliable source”.

Swedish taxi firm runs NFC promo

October 13th, 2014

Swedish taxi firm Taxi020 is promoting downloads of its booking app via NFC posters placed in 70 restaurants, bars and cafes in the cities of Stockholm and Gothenburg. Customers who tap the posters are taken to the app’s download page on Google Play or Windows Store and can then use it to obtain a fixed price quote from the taxi operator on their mobile phone. “The idea is to target people on their way home after a nice meal or drink out,” supplier Adfields’ Martin Kemeny told NFC World+.

Dash expands to Chicago

October 8th, 2014

Mobile payment provider Dash is expanding to Chicago, adding 20 restaurants and bars in the city to its existing base of 50 locations in New York. Customers wanting to use the service tell their waiter or bartender on arrival and Dash then connects their tab to the venue’s POS system, “allowing the items you’ve ordered to appear in real-time on your phone”. They then use the app to pay their bill at the end of their visit by selecting a payment card they have pre-linked to the app.

Boku buys carrier billing rival Mopay

October 8th, 2014

Boku, the carrier billing specialist which is working with UK networks to let customers charge the cost of physical goods to their mobile phone bill, has acquired Germany-based rival Mopay. “The combined assets of the two companies will offer greater scale and operational efficiency and a more standardized carrier billing solution to the benefit of merchants, carriers and consumers alike,” Boku says.

Pizza Hut raises Apple Pay concerns

October 8th, 2014

“I am more pessimistic about Apple Pay’s impact than most people here,” Danny Sullivan, VP of global digital experience at Pizza Hut has told attendees at the Mobile Shopping Summit 2014, Mobile Commerce Daily reports. “I had a call with Apple last week and right now it is only a payment system for apps. It is shut off from the mobile web, which I think everyone knows is a bigger part of everyone’s business from mobile devices.”

Apple Pay setup screen spotted

October 8th, 2014

Screenshots of the Apple Pay setup screen within the new Passbook app in the second iOS 8.1 beta have been published on MacRumours. “The setup prompt within Passbook is similar to the setup prompt to add passes,” the publication says, “educating potential users on what the service is before providing a link to where users can input and scan their credit cards for use.”

Messenger to add payments

October 6th, 2014

The ability to make payments from within Facebook Messenger is on its way, according to screenshots and video footage spotted by Techcrunch. “Messenger’s payment option lets users send money in a message similar to how they can send a photo,” the report explains. “Users can add a debit card in Messenger, or use one they already have on file with Facebook. An in-app pincode also exists for added security around payments.”

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