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Archive: News in brief

Square buys mPOS developer Kili

March 12th, 2015

Square has bought Kili Technology, the Canada-based mPOS startup that acquired NFC-on-microSD pioneer DeviceFidelity in November 2014. Together, says Square, “we’ll continue to lead the way in delivering simple and affordable hardware that gives our sellers a smarter and safer way to do business”.

Most iPhone 6 owners yet to use Apple Pay

March 11th, 2015

Four in five iPhone 6 and 6+ owners in the US are yet to make use of Apple Pay (79%), a Trustev survey has found. Of the 21% who have tried it, 80% are using it less than three times a week, 62% use it either not at all or once in a typical week and 30% say they “never” use it in an average week. Just 2.1% use it 10 times or more a week.

Commbank turns on HCE

March 11th, 2015

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) is now offering customers with an NFC mobile phone running Android 4.4 KitKat or higher the ability to make mobile payments using host card emulation. “The payments can be made via CBA’s mobile banking app, which so far has 3.2 million registered users and has been used to make more than $100bn in transactions since late 2013,” Australian Financial Review reports.

One in three boarding passes to go mobile

March 11th, 2015

More than 1.5bn airline boarding passes will be delivered via mobile by 2019, up from 745m this year, Juniper Research predicts. The figure will represent one in three of all passes issued.

Starbucks expands mobile ordering

March 10th, 2015

Coffee chain Starbucks is expanding its Mobile Order & Pay service to 650 locations in the US states of Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska following a trial which has been running in Portland since December 2014. “The ease of use for both customers and baristas is expected to increase speed of service, drive incremental transactions and increase throughput across Starbucks stores,” the company says. The service is planned to roll out across the US during 2015.

TfL tests guide beacons for the blind

March 9th, 2015

Transport for London (TfL) is testing the use of Bluetooth beacons that work with a mobile app to provide guidance to visually impaired passengers travelling on the London Underground. “Currently most have to rely on friends to help them get used to familiar routes or phone ahead to request assistance from London Underground staff,” the BBC reports. “Many do not feel confident about using the whole network.”

SXSW to deploy 1,000 beacons

March 9th, 2015

The organizers of the annual SXSW music and film festival are working with Gimbal, RightRound and Urban Airship to place 1,000 Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons around the event’s venues. The beacons support Around Me, a new social networking addition to the SXSW Go app that lets attendees who check into zones at official venues discover what’s happening nearby and connect with other people that have also checked into the location.

Apple Pay now at 700,000 locations

March 9th, 2015

Apple Pay is now accepted “at nearly 700,000 locations” and “works with over 2,500 banks”, Apple has announced at its Spring Forward launch event. “There are now hundreds of thousands of vending machines accepting Apple Pay, including more than 40,000 Coca-Cola vending machines.”

No Samsung Pay fees for Korean issuers

March 9th, 2015

No fees will be charged by Samsung to card issuers making use of its new Samsung Pay service in Korea, Business Korea reports, “to help dominate the rapidly-growing mobile payments market”. Samsung’s revenue plan for the US “is still unknown”, the report adds, “but an industry source said that the company is unlikely to charge fees in the US in light of its decision in Korea”.

Apple stores hit hardest by Apple Pay fraudsters

March 9th, 2015

Credit card data stolen in recent data breaches at big retailers has led to a wave of fraudulent Apple Pay transactions, reports the Wall Street Journal. “About 80% of the unauthorized purchases have been for big-ticket items bought with smartphones at Apple’s own stores.”

Softcard to close down on 31 March

March 9th, 2015

The Softcard mobile wallet service is to close down altogether at the end of March 2015 in the wake of a deal between Google and the three US carriers that founded the NFC payments venture. “As of 3/31 your Softcard app will no longer work,” the company says. “You can continue to use the Softcard app until 3/31. After that your account will be closed. To keep using a digital wallet app download Google Wallet now.”

US identity fraud drops, but breaches scare consumers

March 5th, 2015

The number of victims of identity fraud in the US decreased 3% to 12.7 million in 2014 and total fraud losses declined to US$16 billion — a decrease of 11% from 2013 — a study from Javelin Strategy & Research has found. However, a series of high-profile card data breaches had a great impact on consumer purchasing decisions, with 28% of fraud victims saying they avoided affected merchants after the fraud, say the authors of the 2015 Identity Fraud study.

New Pebble could offer NFC strap

March 4th, 2015

Watch maker Pebble has smashed through a US$500,000 crowdfunding target, raising nearly $16m in a matter of days to produce its new Pebble Time smart watch with a colour display. The device will connect to Smart Straps, interchangeable wristbands that can contain electronics and sensors that interface directly with apps running on the watch. “Now everything is possible — GPS, heart rate monitor, NFC, battery extension, you name it!” says the company.

Qkr! payments at Wagamama

March 4th, 2015

Diners at UK restaurant chain Wagamama can now pay for their meals at their tables using MasterCard’s Qkr! app with MasterPass. The QR-based payment system was first seen in a trial in Australia in 2012, and the app is available to download from the App Store or Google Play.

Madrid tests NFC ticketing on public transport

March 4th, 2015

Travellers in Spain’s capital will be able to use their NFC phones to pass through ticket barriers as Madrid’s public transport system tests NFC ticketing. The SIM-based NFC trial will see owners of Samsung Galaxy phones with Telefonica SIMs being able to register payment cards and buy tickets direct from their handsets. Madrid ran an NFC bus ticketing trial with BankInter in 2010.

Google confirms Android Pay at MWC

March 2nd, 2015

Google is building a framework for mobile payments in Android, a senior executive has revealed at Mobile World Congress. Android Pay will be an API layer that supports NFC and biometrics and will allow developers to incorporate payments, both in-store and in-app, into their applications, SVP Sundar Pichai told delegates in Barcelona. Android Pay is expected to launch at Google’s I/O conference in May 2015.

Apple Watch to replace car keys

March 2nd, 2015

Apple is planning to supplant car keys with Apple Watch functionality, CEO Tim Cook has revealed in an interview with the The Telegraph. “The watch is designed to be able to replace car keys and the clumsy, large fobs that are now used by many vehicles,” reports the UK newspaper.

Samsung Pay’s success in the US is not assured, says expert

March 2nd, 2015

Google’s recent acquisition of Softcard’s NFC payments business may hit Samsung Pay’s prospects for widespread US adoption hard, says a respected payments consultant. Commenting on Samsung Pay’s launch, Tom Noyes is enthusiastic about the system’s mechanism for wider merchant acceptance but, he writes, “even if it were ready today it will never be pre-loaded on ANY phone in the US given the recent Google/Softcard deal with all three major US MNOs.”

Mobile money users grow 41% in 2014

March 2nd, 2015

Active mobile money accounts worldwide grew 41% to more than 100 million in 2014, a report from the GSMA’s Mobile Money for the Unbanked programme has found. State of the Industry 2014: Mobile Financial Services for the Unbanked also reports that mobile money services are now available in 61% of developing markets — 84 out of 139 — with 255 services running in 89 countries worldwide. “Mobile is a key enabling tool for financial inclusion and over the last year we’ve seen significant growth in mobile financial services,” says GSMA chief regulatory officer Tom Phillips.

Oberthur’s Pearl SE embedded in Galaxy S6

March 2nd, 2015

Samsung’s new flagship handsets, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, include an embedded secure element (eSE) from Oberthur Technologies. The Pearl eSE is a multi-application NFC secure element that is certified by Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Incorporating the chip allows easy MNO-independent deployment of secure contactless payment, strong authentication, transit, access and loyalty applications.

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