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Archive: News in brief

M-Pesa and MTN Mobile Money join up

April 24th, 2015

Users of Vodafone’s M-Pesa and MTN Group’s MTN Mobile Money services in east Africa will soon be able to transfer money to each other following an agreement between the region’s two biggest mobile network operators. MTN and Vodafone will interconnect their mobile money services to “enable convenient and affordable international remittances”. They will also share best practices and work together to define the rules and standards of mobile-based remittances in Africa, the companies say.

Twitter invests in beacon marketer Swirl

April 24th, 2015

Twitter has invested an undisclosed sum in Boston-based proximity marketing specialist Swirl, hinting the social media platform could be looking at using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons to push messages. The social media giant has invested alongside Hearst Ventures, Softbank Capital and others in an $18m series-C round, taking the total raised by Swirl so far to $32m.

Vodafone Netherlands adds credit card to Wallet

April 23rd, 2015

Vodafone customers in the Netherlands can now make NFC payments with a mobile version of a credit card. Visa credit cards from International Card Services (ICS) can be added to the Vodafone Wallet app running on Android NFC handset equipped with an NFC SIM. Vodafone Wallet users have been able to make NFC payments with the operator’s own SmartPass prepaid account since March 2014.

Half of digital tickets will be bought on mobile by 2019

April 17th, 2015

More than one in two digital tickets will be bought using a mobile handset by 2019, Juniper Research has forecast. Global ticket purchases via mobile and desktop devices, including smartphones, tablets and PCs, will reach 32bn in the same period, up from an estimated 16.2bn this year. Findings also reveal that one in three airline boarding passes will be issued via mobile devices by the same year.

Jawbone to add NFC payments?

April 15th, 2015

Wearable device maker Jawbone could be about to add NFC payment capabilities to its fitness trackers. The company is expected to announce a mobile payments partnership with American Express this week, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Sabadell HCE wallet to go live in July

April 14th, 2015

Spain’s Banco Sabadell is to make its HCE-based mobile payments service, developed in partnership with MasterCard, available to customers in July. The launch follows a pilot conducted with the bank’s employees using a platform provided by Carta Worldwide. “To use Sabadell Wallet, users will have to have a smartphone with Android operating system (at least in Kitkat version) and NFC availability,” the bank says.

SnapScan rolls out beacon payments in South Africa

April 13th, 2015

South African mobile payments company SnapScan has rolled out Bluetooth beacon based in-store mobile payments at 50 merchants in Cape Town and Johannesburg. The SnapBeacons system pops up a “pay here” button on the customer’s phone as they come within range of a store’s beacon. “SnapScan customers can now simply tap a button in the app to initiate the transaction via Bluetooth,” Ventureburn explains. “A message on the customer’s phone will alert them when the option is available.”

Ebay outlines terms of PayPal split

April 10th, 2015

eBay will be prevented from setting up its own payments company when it spins off PayPal to operate as a standalone business later this year, an SEC filing has revealed. An operating agreement which will remain in effect for six years will allow eBay to offer customers alternative payment providers as long as the company ensures that roughly 80% of its sales continue to be routed through PayPal.

Microsoft seeks US payments licenses

April 10th, 2015

Microsoft could be poised to enter the payments business after it emerged the software giant has applied for licenses to operate as a money transmitter in all 50 US states. Idaho has become the first state to grant a license to Microsoft Payments Inc. The company revealed last month it will include support for HCE mobile payments in the mobile version of its forthcoming Windows 10 operating system.

Brainwave biometrics to arrive in three years

April 10th, 2015

Consumers could be able to authenticate themselves using brain wave and heart beat bio-signals from as soon as February 2018. The Korea Internet & Security Agency is to develop standards for the next-generation biometric technologies, and has set up a research committee which includes university hospitals and leaders from the telecommunications and biometrics industries, WhowiredKorea reports.

Barclays offers Apple Watch app

April 10th, 2015

Barclays has unveiled an Apple Watch app which will let customers check their current account balance when the watch goes on sale in the UK on April 24. Customers will be able to check the balance of up to five accounts linked to the Barclays Mobile Banking app, which the user can swipe through to view. “The extension of our popular mobile app on Apple Watch will allow customers to keep track of their money wherever they are,” said Matt Hammerstein, head of customer and client experience at Barclays.

French banks begin HCE payments pilot

April 1st, 2015

BNP Paribas, Groupe BPCE, La Banque Postale and Société Générale have begun piloting HCE mobile payment services with Visa Europe and payment and transaction services provider Worldline. The plans were first announced in November last year and will let users make mobile payments at nearly 400,000 contactless point-of-sale terminals across the country.

Alibaba checks in simple hotel booking

April 1st, 2015

Hotel customers with high credit scores will be able to book rooms on Alibaba’s online travel booking platform Alitrip without having to provide their credit card for room deposits and bypass check-out with payments automatically deducted from their Alipay accounts. The Post Post Pay service, launched by Alitrip and Sesame Credit, the Alibaba-related Ant Financial Services Group credit agency, will be available in some 5,500 hotels in China, Alizila reports, including Starwood, Shangri-La, Jinling, New Century and Landison.

AMP Bank adds HCE payments to mobile app

March 31st, 2015

Australia’s AMP Bank has added HCE-based NFC mobile payments to its banking app for Android, allowing AMP Visa debit card holders to make payments with their phone at any contactless terminal. The bank, which joins a growing list of financial institutions which have introduced HCE payments in Australia, will continue to offer PayTag contactless stickers for those who can’t use the new AMPwave service.

One in five US mobile phone users made a mobile payment in 2014

March 27th, 2015

22% of US mobile phone users made a mobile payment last year, up from 17% in 2013, research from the Federal Reserve Board reveals. The most common type of mobile payment was paying bills through an online system or mobile app, followed by online and in-app purchases, with in-store payments in third place, the Consumers and Mobile Financial Services 2015 (PDF) report found.

TEB to roll out HCE payments in Turkey

March 26th, 2015

Turkey’s Türk Ekonomi Bankasi (TEB) has become the latest European bank to announce plans to launch a host card emulation (HCE) based mobile payments service using a tokenization platform unveiled by Visa Europe in February. “Customers will be able to make Visa contactless payments at more than 2.4m contactless terminals across Europe with a simple tap using the bank’s CepteTEB mobile application,” says Visa Europe.

China Telecom launches NFC ticketing

March 26th, 2015

Residents of Shanghai and Beijing can now ride the metro and pay for tickets with their China Telecom NFC smartphones. The carrier, which has 183m subscribers, is using Gemalto’s UpTeq multi-tenant NFC SIMs to deploy its secure NFC services.

SaskTel plans mobile payments

March 26th, 2015

Canadian communications provider SaskTel will soon unveil a mobile payments service for its customers, the company has said on Twitter. “Soon you can get the security and convenience of credit card payments using your SaskTel phone!” the tweet read. A formal announcement on the launch will be made in mid-April, a spokesman told Mobile Syrup.

Naver Pay to go live in June

March 18th, 2015

Korean internet portal Naver is to introduce a mobile payments platform from June that will let users verify themselves using fingerprint recognition and make payments using their Naver ID, a password, the mobile number of the recipient and either a credit or debit card. “It has tied up with five credit card firms, including BC Card Co and Samsung Card Co, and is in talks with five major local banks to forge the partnership to provide Naver Pay,” Yonhap reports.

SNCF extends NFC train tickets

March 17th, 2015

French railway operator SNCF has expanded availability of its NFC ticketing service to include the Alsace, Aquitaine, Haute-Normandie, Lorraine and Midi-Pyrenees regions. Launched in Normandy in October 2014 and developed in partnership with Orange and SFR, the service allows commuters to buy, manage and validate their tickets using their smartphone.

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