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Archive: News in brief

Starwood’s mobile keys go live

November 11th, 2014

The Bluetooth-based mobile keyless entry solution unveiled by Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide earlier this month is now live in 10 hotels in Beijing, Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles and Doha and will be rolling out to Aloft, Element and W Hotels across the globe. Starwood plans to rollout the SPG Keyless service to 30,000 doors in 150 hotels by early 2015.

RATP adds NFC to Paris bus and tram stops

November 11th, 2014

Paris area transport authority RATP has begun installing NFC tags at bus and tram stops in the Ile-de-France region to deliver real-time information and route maps to passengers’ smartphones. Developed in partnership with RATP subsidiary Ixxi, the service is due to be rolled out to 13,000 locations in the first quarter of 2015 and is also available via SMS and QR code for those without an NFC device.

GSMA introduces code for mobile money providers

November 10th, 2014

The GSMA has launched a Code of Conduct for Mobile Money Providers, laying down eight common business principles designed to ensure the development of safe and responsible digital financial services. “The first mobile network operators to endorse the code are Airtel, Avea, Axiata, Etisalat, Millicom, MTN, Ooredoo, Orange, Telenor, Vodafone and Zain,” the mobile network operator’s association says. “Together, these MNO groups represent 21 mobile money deployments operating in 51 countries.”

Apple Pay boosts Google Wallet

November 10th, 2014

Google Wallet has seen an uplift of 50% in transactions on a weekly basis since Apple Pay’s launch, with users almost doubling on a monthly basis “in the recent couple of months”, reports Ars Technica.

Square processes a billion payments

November 10th, 2014

US mobile payments provider Square has now processed a total of one billion payment transactions. “Who made the billionth swipe? A merchant in Sacramento that’s been using Square for two years,” founder Jack Dorsey reveals.

Softcard to be on 100 phones by year’s end

November 10th, 2014

US carrier joint venture Softcard’s NFC mobile payments service will be available on more than 100 devices by the end of the year. “We believe in customer choice — it’s one of our core principles and an important factor in driving widespread consumer adoption,” says CEO Michael Abbott. Softcard currently runs on selected Android and Windows Phone devices, with support for iOS planned.

Costa Rican bank adds face biometrics to mobile app

November 10th, 2014

Costa Rican bank Grupo Mutual has worked with biometric technology provider FacePhi to build face recognition into its mobile banking app. The system will be introduced for more than 250,000 of the bank’s customers in January 2015 following testing with employees and clients.

Nationwide adds wearable banking

November 6th, 2014

Customers of the UK’s Nationwide bank can now see their account balance in real time on an Android Wear smartwatch. To use the service, customers need to log in to the bank’s mobile app and choose which accounts they want to be able to see when they use the Quick Balance feature. They will then be able to get an up-to-date report on how much money is in their account by simply saying “OK Google, start Quick Balance” to their Android Wear device.

ANZ to launch NFC wallet

November 6th, 2014

Australia’s ANZ is to launch an NFC-enabled mobile wallet in early 2015, following a successful trial of the service. Customers will be able to “securely transfer and store a single ANZ card or multiple ANZ cards on their phone and use those cards to transact at contactless terminals,” the bank says. A new Tap & PIN solution that is to be rolled out across its ATM network will also use NFC for authentication and transaction pre-staging in the future, ANZ adds.

The Shard gets BLE beacons

November 5th, 2014

London’s highest viewing gallery is to deploy Bluetooth beacons 800 feet (243m) above the city at the top of its tallest building. Aruba will supply the The View at The Shard with BLE beacons and a software platform to deliver information about notable landmarks visible from the tourist attraction to visitors’ mobile devices.

Pivo passes 100,000 active users

November 5th, 2014

Finnish mobile wallet Pivo has now been downloaded to 300,000 smartphones and a third of users  — more than 100,000 — are making use of the app every day. Pivo lets consumers track their card transaction details, pay for goods both in-store and online, receive real-time transaction notifications, redeem vouchers and sync with loyalty programmes. The service also forecasts users’ future account balances.

Small US businesses have no POS upgrade plans

November 5th, 2014

Just 4% of independent business owners in the US are aware they have a contactless POS terminal and 14% are not sure, Newtek Business Services’ latest SBA Market Sentiment Survey has revealed — and only 7% say they plan to upgrade so they can make contactless NFC payments like Apple Pay available to their customers, while 93% say they have no plans to do so.

Windows Phone gets Softcard NFC payments

November 5th, 2014

Windows Phone users with AT&T in the US can now make NFC payments by downloading a new Softcard app from the Windows Phone Store. Until now Softcard has only been supported by select Android phones.

Eurosmart forecasts 600m NFC SEs in 2015

November 5th, 2014

A total of 8bn secure elements will be shipped this year, with SIM cards accounting for 5.1bn of the total, according to new statistics released by smart security industry association Eurosmart, with the total rising to 12bn in 2020. NFC-enabled SIM cards and embedded secure elements will account for 350m of the total in 2014 and that number will almost double to 600m in 2015, Eurosmart adds.

604m will have biometric wearables by 2019

November 5th, 2014

There will be 604m users of wearable biometric technology globally by 2019, a new report from Goode Intelligence forecasts. “The next wave of consumer-led biometric adoption will be led by the integration into wearable technology — smartwatches, bands, earpods, jewellery and glasses,” the company says.

Semble begins NFC pilot in NZ

November 5th, 2014

Semble, the NFC payments joint venture between New Zealand’s carriers and the Paymark payments network, has begun testing its NFC mobile payment solution with 250 of the company’s shareholders and stakeholders in Auckland and Wellington. “The piloteers will test and experience the full Semble journey; downloading the app from Google Play, populating their wallets with live versions of their ASB and BNZ credit and debit cards and then making payments,” Semble explains. The pilot is expected to run until early 2015.

Google Wallet gets automatic top-ups

November 4th, 2014

An new version of Google Wallet, now available for Android and iOS devices, offers additional ways to add money to a user’s account balance. “With the latest version of Google Wallet you’ll be able to add money automatically to your wallet balance and set up low balance alerts, so that you’ll always have money in your wallet balance when you need it,” product manager Andrew Waterman says.

MCX to open up “in months”

November 4th, 2014

The exclusivity rule that prevents members of MCX from accepting other mobile payments services in their stores will expire in “months, not years,” CEO Dekkers Davidson has told Re/Code. Davidson also “flatly denied that MCX had ordered CVS to turn off Apple Pay,” the report adds.

BitPay adds NFC payments

November 4th, 2014

Bitcoin payment gateway BitPay is to roll out a point-of-sale app to “every mobile market worldwide” that makes it possible for merchants to process Bitcoin payments via NFC. “Bitcoin Checkout is designed to be both fully-featured for solo use and simple to use alongside existing point-of-sale systems,” the company explains. “Merchants can start accepting Bitcoin today — even if their vendor isn’t among the Bitcoin point-of-sale integrations we currently offer.”

Chase and Vantiv to offer Poynt POS

November 4th, 2014

Chase Paymentech and Vantiv, two of the largest payment processors in the US, have signed up to distribute the former head of Google Wallet’s new Poynt POS terminal to their merchant bases. The device, unveiled by Osama Bedier’s startup last week, supports magnetic stripe, EMV, NFC, QR codes and Bluetooth beacon technology.

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