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    Archive: News in brief

    Costa Rican bank adds facial recognition to mobile app

    January 12th, 2016

    Customers of Banco Nacional de Costa Rica will be able to access their bank account and check their balance by scanning their face using their mobile device from the second quarter of this year. In a second phase the bank will extend face recognition to users of its web-based banking facilities, says technology provider FacePhi.

    Mumbai commuters test mobile ticketing

    January 12th, 2016

    Commuters in Navi Mumbai, India, are piloting a service provided by Birds Eye Systems that lets them pay for bus fares on their mobile phone. “The bus conductors carry a mobile device which can verify the e-ticket from the app,” Medianama reports. “The Ridlr app connects with a bus conductor’s mobile device via a combination of Bluetooth and wireless technology.” The pilot is being conducted in partnership with Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT).

    Tangerine customers get chat-based banking

    January 11th, 2016

    Customers of Canada’s Tangerine Bank will soon be able to conduct transactions using Secure Chat, a service that will let them interact with the bank over a real-time chat session. “Clients will be able to interact on a wide variety of confidential banking matters, which could include getting specific account details or completing transactions, all within a chat session from the convenience of their mobile device or computer,” the bank says.

    CES hosts BLE scavenger hunt

    January 11th, 2016

    Attendees at this year’s CES show in Las Vegas had the chance to participate in a scavenger hunt that used Bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacons provided by Radius Networks. The devices alerted participants on their smartphones whenever they were near a hunt location and could earn scavenger hunt badges. Beacon solution provider Kontakt.io hosted a US$1m beacon hunt at the event last year.

    Bell ID white paper helps banks explore tokenization options

    January 8th, 2016

    A white paper that clarifies the role of the token service provider (TSP) for banks and proposes five key features that financial institutions should look out for in a TSP is now available to download from the NFC World+ Knowledge Centre. ‘Five key features to look for in a token service provider solution’ has been produced by Bell ID and aims to help banks decide on the most appropriate tokenization solution for their needs.

    UK fundraisers to get contactless tins

    January 7th, 2016

    Fundraisers in the UK are to be equipped with a new generation of collection tins that will let passersby donate to charity with a tap of a contactless card. “The idea is that if someone has no coins on them, only cards, they will still be able to donate,” The UK Cards Association told NFC World. The association is developing the tins in partnership with UK charities including Cancer Research UK.

    Maybank offers payment wristband in Malaysia

    January 7th, 2016

    Customers of Malaysia’s Maybank can now make purchases using a Maybank Visa Payband developed by the bank in partnership with Visa. “The wearable leverages on Visa’s payWave contactless technology at more than 1,000 locations across the country,” the payment network says.

    China Unicom reveals mobile couponing lessons

    January 7th, 2016

    A case study that details the lessons learned by mobile network operator China Unicom when implementing mobile couponing and loyalty solutions in the Chinese market is now available to download from the NFC World+ Knowledge Centre. ‘China Unicom: Delivering mobile couponing and loyalty services to the Chinese market’, produced by the GSMA, also explores the opportunities available when mobile network operators and merchants work together to implement retail incentive programs.

    Sacramento commuters to get mobile ticketing

    January 7th, 2016

    Commuters in the US city of Sacramento will be able to pay for transit tickets and display them on their mobile phones using a RideSacRT mobile app that will be launched this month by Sacramento Regional Transit and mobile payments specialist Passport. “Riders are able to pay for their transit fares directly in the app using their secure RT account,” Passport says. “Riders can then use their mobile ticket to board transit or store their ticket for later use.”

    Samsung Pay to become market leader in Asia?

    January 7th, 2016

    Samsung Pay will become the mobile payments market leader in Asia, with a 49% share of the market in 2016, a Korean investment firm predicts. “Hyundai Securities is estimating that 200m Samsung smartphones will have Samsung Pay next year,” Etnews reports. “As Samsung joins hands with UnionPay, it is expected that Samsung Pay’s influence will expand starting from China.” Samsung announced its partnership with China UnionPay in December 2015.

    Alipay parent seeks $1.5bn investment

    January 7th, 2016

    Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, owner of mobile payment platform Alipay, is seeking an investment of at least 10bn yuan (US$1.5bn) ahead of a planned initial public offering, Bloomberg reports. “Ant Financial may use money from the current fundraising for acquisitions,” the publication says. Ant Financial made a strategic investment in Indian mobile payment platform Paytm in September 2015 after closing a Series A financing round that valued Ant Financial at more than US$45bn.

    Azerbaijan to get universal mobile payment system

    January 7th, 2016

    A new mobile payments system is to begin undergoing tests in Azerbaijan this month, according to Azernews. Azerpay “is expected to offer contactless and remote payment, money transfers, applying for loan, operations in POS-terminals, recharge of account, payment of utility services and many other advantages,” the publication reports. “Overall, more than 160 variations of payment services will be available at the time of the start of the system.”

    Wi-Fi Alliance polishes HaLow for IoT connectivity

    January 6th, 2016

    The Wi-Fi Alliance is extending its support for the internet of things (IoT) market with a new brand name for products incorporating low power, long range IEEE 802.11ah technology. “Wi-Fi HaLow extends Wi-Fi into the 900 MHz band, enabling the low power connectivity necessary for applications including sensors and wearables,” the organization says. “Wi-Fi HaLow will enable a variety of new power-efficient use cases in the smart home, connected car, and digital healthcare, as well as industrial, retail, agriculture, and smart city environments.”

    Facebook bots to enable Messenger commerce

    January 6th, 2016

    Facebook has given some developers access to an as yet unannounced Chat SDK that allows them to build interactive experiences and “bots” in Messenger for shopping, booking travel and more, according to TechCrunch. “The Chat SDK allows developers to create bots that users can send text messages to directly and that automatically respond with information, images, location services, product prices, buy buttons and more,” the publication reports. “The Chat SDK can also tap into Messenger’s built-in payments system to let users make purchases via bots.”

    Broadcom NFC controller offers faster HCE transactions

    January 6th, 2016

    Broadcom has unveiled an NFC controller with a new capability called Virtual Execution Environment (VEE) that “reduces HCE transactions to half their time, improves security without the need for a secure element and can perform transactions with the host off so users can still make a transaction when their device is powered off.” The new BCM20797 controller also features a smaller footprint, making it suitable for both mobile devices and wearables, Broadcom says.

    Orange to launch its own bank

    January 6th, 2016

    Mobile network operator Orange has entered into negotiations to acquire a 65% stake in France’s Groupama Banque with a view to launching a 100% mobile bank. “The launch of Orange Bank is planned for early 2017 in France and on other European markets like Spain and Belgium,” Groupama Banque says. “Services cover daily banking, savings, loans and insurance.”

    Apple Pay adds almost 60 more US banks

    January 5th, 2016

    Apple has added 58 banks and credit unions to its list of Apple Pay supporting financial institutions in the US. “Apple Pay now has over 900 participating issuers nationwide and several more plan to support the NFC-based mobile payment service in the future,” MacRumors reports.

    Mike Tyson puts weight behind Bitcoin

    January 5th, 2016

    Boxing hero Mike Tyson has teamed up with Bitcoin Direct and BitPay to launch the Mike Tyson Digital Wallet. The mobile app allows the buying and selling of bitcoin and can also work with bitcoin ATMs. “The Mike Tyson Digital Wallet is one of the first bitcoin wallets that allows users to purchase and/or sell bitcoin from the app,” Bitcoin Direct says. “Bitcoin Direct does not charge users any fees for using the wallet.”

    Apple to allow P2P transfers through iMessage?

    January 5th, 2016

    A patent filed by Apple suggests that the company may be looking at letting iPhone users send money over iMessage as well as via phone calls, emails and calendar invitations. “The function could work in a number of ways,” Quartz reports. “It explicitly mentions a phone call, text messaging, conversations, an email thread and calendar events, among other uses.” News that Apple was working on a P2P payment service first surfaced in November 2015.

    Samsung Pay to add online payments

    January 4th, 2016

    Samsung is to expand Samsung Pay to both online payments and down-range smartphones in the US this year, according to Reuters. “Lower-priced Samsung phones will likely start offering the mobile wallet within the next year,” Samsung’s Thomas Ko told the news agency. “Online payment support is coming soon.” The company’s plans to add the service to mid- and low-end handsets emerged in November 2015.

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