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    Archive: News in brief

    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.”

    A third of online transactions now made on mobile

    January 27th, 2016

    More than a third (34%) of browser-based online transactions globally are now made on a mobile device, compared to just over 30% last quarter, research from Adyen reveals. “The increase is driven particularly by major Asian-based payment methods including JCB, UnionPay and Alipay,” the firm says. “The UK continues to lead the way in mobile payment adoption, with 49% of online transactions on mobile devices.”

    Cook reports strong growth in Apple Pay usage

    January 27th, 2016

    Apple Pay saw a “significant acceleration in usage” in the second half of 2015, Apple CEO Tim Cook reported during the company’s first quarter earnings call, with a growth rate 10 times higher than in the first half of the year. Cook also revealed that Apple Pay will soon be accepted at “thousands” of ExxonMobil gas stations across the US via the company’s Speedpass+ app. “There are now over 5m contactless payment ready locations in the countries where Apple Pay is live today,” he added.

    US EMV shipments to hit 617m units in 2016

    January 27th, 2016

    EMV shipments in the US will reach approximately 617m units in 2016, ABI Research predicts. “In 2017, shipments are forecast to dip by approximately 5% with later shipments likely to settle within the 600 and 615m range,” says senior analyst Phil Sealy. “EMV migration in the US ramped up quickly, with market penetration likely to hit close to 100% over the next two years.”

    Metrolink to deploy mobile ticketing across Southern California

    January 26th, 2016

    Passengers on Southern California’s Metrolink rail system will soon be able to pay for tickets on their smartphone and validate them at barcode readers on station turnstiles. The service will use Masabi’s JustRide platform and will be deployed in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, as well as Oceanside in San Diego County. “Mobile tickets will be made available for travel across all of Metrolink’s seven lines and nearly 60 stations by the fall,” Masabi says.

    Bologna Airport to install Bluetooth beacons, NFC tags and QR codes

    January 26th, 2016

    Travellers passing through  Bologna Airport in Italy will soon be able to download the airport’s mobile app by tapping NFC tags or scanning QR codes with their mobile phone. They will then get notifications via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons installed by platform provider Connecthings. “Orientation in the airport can be now greatly, simply facilitated using the mobile devices everybody’s using,” says Bologna Airport’s Silvia Lombardi.

    Barclays to support Apple Pay within “60 to 75 days”

    January 26th, 2016

    Barclays will add support for Apple Pay “within the next 60 to 75 days”, the bank’s Ashok Vaswani has revealed in an email to a customer. Barclays was a notable absence from the list of participating banks when Apple announced in June 2015 it would expand the mobile payment service to the UK but confirmed to NFC World the following month that it would support Apple Pay “in the future”.

    Visa reports 250% growth in UK contactless transactions

    January 26th, 2016

    Contactless now accounts for one in seven Visa transactions across the UK, up from one in 25 a year ago, the payment network has revealed, with contactless payments growing 250% year-on-year and 60% of transactions occurring outside London. “Almost 460,000 terminals across all of the UK are now ready for face-to-face contactless and mobile payments,” says Visa Europe’s Kevin Jenkins.

    Broadway theatres deploy BLE beacons

    January 25th, 2016

    Theatregoers on New York’s Broadway can now get information about the show they are seeing and receive offers from local restaurants, bars and other venues via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons and the Playbill Passport app. The app has been developed by technology company Broadway Voice and Playbill magazine while the beacons have been supplied by Gimbal and are used in conjunction with Urban Airship’s mobile marketing platform.

    Irish transit users get NFC top-ups

    January 25th, 2016

    Travellers in Ireland can now top up their Leap public transport card by tapping it against their NFC phone and entering their payment details. “We are working on future releases which will enhance the app and will include the ability to store payment card details for a more streamlined top-up purchasing process,” the company says. The Leap Card is available in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Wexford.

    Chicago commuters make 1m mobile journeys

    January 25th, 2016

    The Ventra mobile ticketing app introduced by Chicago’s Metra commuter rail service in November 2015 has been used by passengers on more than one million journeys in its first two months. “Since it debuted on November 19, the app has been downloaded by more than 250,000 people,” Metra says. “The app has so far been used to buy 221,000 Metra tickets, and those mobile tickets have now been used to pay for 1m rides.”

    Apple Pay adds 51 US banks

    January 25th, 2016

    Apple has added another 51 banks and credit unions to its list of Apple Pay supporting financial institutions in the US. “Apple Pay now has over 950 participating issuers nationwide,” MacRumors reports.

    A third of US consumers now use mobile wallets

    January 25th, 2016

    Nearly a third of US consumers (32%) are currently using a mobile wallet such as Apple Pay or Android Pay, research from Vibes reveals. 94% are likely to save personalised mobile wallet offers and coupons while 59% say their opinion of a retailer would become more positive if they started to receive coupons and offers that could be saved on their smartphones.

    Swiss banks add support for Paymit mobile payments

    January 25th, 2016

    Paymit, the P2P transfer service set up by Switzerland’s SIX, UBS and Zürcher Kantonalbank, has added support from three more banks ahead of its launch as an in-store mobile payment solution in February 2016. Obwalden, St.Gallen and Zug will join the six other financial institutions already supporting the service. Paymit has been downloaded 170,000 times since launching in May 2015.

    Otto Group to offer PowaTag mobile payments

    January 25th, 2016

    German retail giant Otto Group has partnered with Powa Technologies to offer its customers mobile payments through PowaTag, a service that lets consumers make purchases by capturing ‘PowaTags’ using their mobile device. The partnership follows Otto Group’s decision to close its Yapital mobile payments service in November 2015.

    Alipay reports 65% share of China’s online payments market

    January 25th, 2016

    Nearly two thirds (65%) of online payments in China were made through Alipay last year, findings published by the mobile payments provider and reported by ECNS reveal. “The percentage represents a big jump compared with 49.3% of the total transactions done by the same mode in 2014,” the publication says. “The Tibet autonomous region leads the country in mobile payment with 83.3% of the online payment transactions in the region made with mobile devices in 2015.”

    Swatch and Visa to take Bellamy smartwatch to Rio Olympics

    January 25th, 2016

    Visitors to this summer’s Rio 2016 Olympics will be able to use luxury watchmaker Swatch’s Bellamy NFC smartwatch to pay for event passes, according to the Financial Times. “Swatch and Visa are sponsors of this summer’s Rio Olympics and plan to introduce functions for the Bellamy that can be used by wearers during the games,” the newspaper reports.

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