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Archive: News in brief

eBay to spin off PayPal?

August 26th, 2014

eBay is considering a spinoff of its payments service PayPal as early as next year, Reuters reports, but details of the move and what structure it could take remain unclear. “The board will continue to assess all alternatives to create that long-term value and to enhance the growth and competitive positions of both eBay and PayPal. This position has not changed,” says eBay spokeswoman Amanda Miller.

Aruba Airport to test biometric tokens

August 21st, 2014

Air France-KLM is to test a single biometric passenger token concept at Aruba Airport, Future Travel Experience reports. “When a passenger checks-in, their e-passport will be validated and either a photo of their face, an iris scan or their fingerprint or a combination of two or more will be collected. This information will then be used as the identifier at all other checkpoints, ranging from bag drop to boarding.”

EyeVerify raises $6m

August 21st, 2014

EyeVerify has raised US$6m in Series A funding for a service that uses the camera in a mobile phone to secure access to mobile banking and other apps. The company’s Eyeprint Verification System captures and compares the pattern of blood vessels in the whites of the user’s eyes and is expected to be used “in financial services, enterprise mobility management, mobile security, telecoms, healthcare and government”.

Levi’s Stadium adds BLE beacons

August 21st, 2014

The Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco has installed 1,700 Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons that can be used “to give people pinpoint directions to their seats as well as to any other place in the stadium,” Time reports. “They can also be used to send them alerts about specials from concession stands and other promotions.”

US to get 575m chip cards next year

August 21st, 2014

More than 575million EMV payment cards will have been issued by the end of 2015 by nine leading US card issuers who are members of the Payments Security Task Force (PST), an organisation set up in March 2014 “to drive executive level discussion that will enhance payments system security”. Members of the PST include Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi, Discover, First Data, MasterCard, Visa, US Bank and Wells Fargo.

Paym reaches 1m users

August 7th, 2014

More than one million Brits have now registered for Paym, the mobile payments service operated by the UK’s Payments Council, with just over £6.5m being sent on the platform since its launch in April this year. “It’s hugely encouraging that one million people have chosen to register for Paym already, but this milestone only marks the start of growth in the service,” says the company’s Jemma Smith.

SIMalliance publishes NFC paper

August 6th, 2014

The SIMalliance has set out its recommendations for UICC configuration and feature requirements for NFC payments in a new paper called UICC Configuration for Mobile NFC Payments v1.0. “One of SIMalliance’s greatest priorities is to continue to drive UICC interoperability,” says the association’s Frederic Vasnier. “Our sight remains firmly fixed on helping MNOs ease third-party access to their subscribers via NFC-enabled SIMs.”

One Stop gives mobile vouchers

August 6th, 2014

UK convenience store chain One Stop is introducing Eagle Eye’s AIR technology in all of its 700-plus stores to issue real-time, personalised offers to customers via SMS and email that can be redeemed in-store on a mobile device. “The SMS or email that they receive will come with a barcode which can be scanned at till,” Eagle Eye told NFC World+.

KakaoTalk to add payments

August 6th, 2014

Korean mobile messaging service Kakao is to launch a new payment solution in September, in collaboration with nine credit card firms, that will let its 100 million KakaoTalk customers make payments using only their password. “Through integration of the payment modules to the KakaoTalk network, the company will help users buy goods simply with the KakaoTalk password once they register credit card or account information at the first transaction,” the Korea Times reports.

London buses accept NFC payments

August 5th, 2014

London buses now accept payments made using mobile network operator EE’s Cash on Tap NFC solution. Travellers will also be able to pay with NFC on the London Underground, Docklands Light Railway and London Overground from 16 September 2014.

UK contactless transactions surge

August 5th, 2014

The number of UK contactless payments has risen 18% in just one month to almost 20 million transactions in May 2014, Visa Europe has revealed. “Growth in Visa contactless payments is accelerating at a phenomenal pace,” says Mark Austin, director of contactless at Visa Europe.

GameStop deploys BLE in stores

August 5th, 2014

Video game retailer GameStop is deploying Shelfbucks beacons in test markets including Austin and College Station, Texas this month to deliver offers and relevant data to a shopper’s smartphone running a mobile app developed by BestFit Mobile. “We can deliver personalisation at a much higher level, ensuring customers always have access to relevant product offers, including product ratings and reviews, when and where it matters to them most,” says GameStop’s Charlie Larkin.

GSMA publishes mobile money paper

August 5th, 2014

The GSMA has published a discussion paper on how increased smartphone adoption in the developing world will impact the global mobile money industry. Enhanced user experiences, an accelerated pace of new product development and increased competition are all highlighted as likely developments by the Smartphones & Mobile Money paper.

BLE guides the blind at SFO

August 5th, 2014

Visually-impaired travellers at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) are now being guided through terminals via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons supplied by Indoo.rs. Some 500 devices have been placed at boarding gates, restaurants and power outlets to trigger audible calls on a passenger’s smartphone when in beacon range. “The prototype version will undergo additional testing and refinement before being released for use by the traveling public,” SFO says.

Analysts report on Apple/Visa partnership

August 5th, 2014

“We think a partnership between Apple and Visa would make strategic sense and believe an announcement could happen as early as this fall,” a team of Pacific Crest Securities analysts has concluded in a new report that follows reports suggesting that two are in talks on mobile payments. “A combination of cloud-based (HCE) and physical (SE or TEE) seems like a plausible security strategy for Apple.”

Facebook closes gifts business

August 1st, 2014

Facebook is to close down its gifts service on August 12, Techcrunch reports. “Most of the team has already been reassigned to other commerce initiatives. Those include the Buy button for making ecommerce purchases within Facebook, Auto-Fill for auto-populating your billing info in other shopping apps, and Custom Audiences that let brick-and-mortar merchants retarget Facebook ads to existing customers.”

Amazon Wallet teams up with Blackhawk

August 1st, 2014

Amazon is working with prepaid specialist Blackhawk Network on its new Amazon Wallet service, which lets Android and Fire users store gift cards and loyalty cards on their mobile phone. “Blackhawk Network’s expertise in gift card management provides our customers with access to the retailers they want and the digital experience that Amazon is committed to delivering,” says Amazon Local Commerce director Charlie Kindel.

Square unveils EMV card reader

August 1st, 2014

Mobile POS provider Square is to introduce a new card reader that can be used to process both EMV chip card and magnetic stripe card payments. “Square Reader for chip cards is the most advanced and affordable way for you to be ready for the cards all of your customers will soon be carrying,” the company says. “No commitments, long-term contracts, or painful ‘reterminalization’ fees.”

Vodafone Italia pilots smart shopping posters

July 29th, 2014

Vodafone Italia is working with high-end Italian food market chain Eataly on a pilot project that lets 2,500 staff tap their NFC phone or scan a QR code on a smart poster to order and pay for groceries that are then delivered to their home or office. The posters come in a range of sizes and can be applied to various surfaces, enabling them to be placed in a wide range of locations, the partners say.

Pepsi tests NFC for shopper marketing

July 29th, 2014

Pepsi has tested a new NFC shopper marketing solution developed by logistics optimisation solutions provider Rehrig Pacific that uses NFC chips and QR codes on display trays to “increase the opportunity for consumer interaction, at the point of sale, without increased merchandising or delivery costs”. The pilot at the Pepsi Bottling branch in Burnsville, Minneapolis resulted in a 48% click-through conversion rate, 2.8% engagement rate and 1.34% response rate. A full case study is available here (PDF).

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