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Archive: News in brief

Nintendo sells 5.7m NFC figurines

February 18th, 2015

The US and Canada accounted for 63% of a total 5.7m NFC-enabled Nintendo Amiibo figurines sold at the end of 2014, followed by Europe in second place with 23%, Japan with 11% and Australia with 3%. “The sell-through proportion of the total shipment is approximately 70% in each of Japan, US and Canada and Europe, while it reaches 90% in Australia,” Nintendo president Satoru Iwata revealed during the company’s third quarter financial results briefing.

Microsoft to support Fido biometrics

February 18th, 2015

Windows 10 will support the next version of the Fast Identification Online (Fido) Alliance technical specifications, Microsoft has announced, allowing users to unlock their devices using biometric authentication instead of passwords. “Transitioning away from passwords and to a stronger form of identity is one of the great challenges that we face in online computing, and we believe Fido authentication is the pathway to success,” says Microsoft’s Dustin Ingalls.

Brooklyn Museum reports on BLE issues

February 18th, 2015

Brooklyn Museum has produced an in-depth report that examines the practical issues it experienced implementing and managing a network of Bluetooth beacons. Key concerns include installation of the beacon devices, difficulties keeping them in place and programming beacon signal strength. “We are still happy we went this route, but the practicalities have been difficult,” Shelley Bernstein from the museum says.

Jakarta gets NFC rail tickets

February 17th, 2015

From this month the 700,000 daily users of Jakarta’s local train network can pay for their tickets with a tap of a contactless wristband or card at any of 64 stations served by Indonesian regional rail operator PT Kai Commuter Jabodetabek (KCJ). KCJ’s new ticketing system has been supplied by Sony FeliCa and support for NFC phones is planned “from the middle of 2015.”

700+ sign up for today’s tokenization webinar

February 17th, 2015

More than 700 NFC World readers are set to take part in a free webinar on tokenization presented by Bell ID’s David Worthington at 3pm GMT this afternoon. Attendees will learn about tokenization, how it works and the role it plays in payment security in the 60-minute online event, which features a live question and answer session afterwards. You can take part by signing up here.

Apple Pay hits delays in China

February 16th, 2015

“Apple Pay has hit bumps in China despite Apple’s efforts to make friends with Alibaba and UnionPay,” Caixin reports. Talks between Apple and the national payments network, which were due to lead to an agreement in March, “have stalled”, the report adds, while Apple still has regulatory hurdles to overcome as “it’s unclear whether the product meets the government’s requirements for a commercial operation”.

Apple Pay to go live in Brazil soon?

February 16th, 2015

Apple is in talks with some of Brazil’s largest banks including Bradesco, Itau and Banco do Brasil with a view to launching Apple Pay in the country in the near future, Epoca Negocios reports. Almost 80% of the payment terminal network in Brazil is already contactless-enabled, the publication says, and “the only missing piece to fully nationalise the process is issuing cards”.

Google exits Kenyan payments venture

February 16th, 2015

BebaPay, a payment card launched by Google and Equity Bank in Kenya in 2013 that let users pay for their bus fare via NFC, is to be discontinued on March 15. “You can either replace your card with the new Equity prepaid MasterCard for free, finish your card balance by 15 March or get a refund after 28 March,” AllAfrica reports.

US Federal Government turns to Apple Pay

February 16th, 2015

Apple Pay will be available as a payment option for US Federal Government services from September, CEO Tim Cook has revealed during a White House Summit on cybersecurity and personal privacy. “Apple Pay will be available for many transactions with the Federal Government, like for example, when you pay for admission to your favourite national park,” he said. “We’re also working to make sure credit and procurement cards issued to government employees for their expenses can be used with Apple Pay.”

First Tech to run biometric triple test

February 13th, 2015

First Tech Federal Credit Union is to run a pilot later this year in partnership with MasterCard that will see cardholders being given the ability to authenticate and verify their transactions using a combination of face, voice and fingerprint verification. The pilot forms part of a new US$20m investment by MasterCard in cybersecurity-related technologies that aim to “deliver greater peace of mind for MasterCard cardholders, merchants and issuing banks.”

Visa adds mobile location checking

February 13th, 2015

Visa has launched Visa Mobile Location Confirmation, a service that works through a participating bank’s mobile banking app to determine whether a payment request is legitimate or not by matching a phone’s location to the location of a payment transaction. The technology used in the service has been developed by Finsphere and takes less than a millisecond to perform the matching process.

Starbucks adds Apple Pay to app

February 13th, 2015

Starbucks has updated its iOS app to add support for Apple Pay, making it possible for users to reload their Starbucks cards using Apple’s mobile payments service.“There has been no word on whether Starbucks plans to implement NFC and support for in-store use of Apple Pay,” MacRumors says.

LA Metro to get Bluetooth beacons

February 12th, 2015

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is planning to pilot Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons in Los Angeles’ Union Station to track a commuter’s journey and send out relevant information directly to their smartphone. “If the pilot program goes well, the beacons could spread across Los Angeles County to reach hundreds of thousands of commuters on Metro’s sprawling network of bus and rail lines,” LA Times reports.

Google testing new payments service?

February 11th, 2015

Google is testing a service called Plaso “that allows people carrying Android phones to pay at retailers like Papa John’s and Panera Bread by saying their initials to employees at the cash register,” The Information reports, citing “four people who have been involved in or briefed about it.” The pilot has been live since “last fall”.

India moves to mobile payments

February 11th, 2015

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has published the first draft of a specification that will be used to introduce an electronic payments system that leverages both mobile payments and Aadhaar, India’s biometrics-based ID system. “This Unified Payment Interface document provides a payments architecture that is directly linked to achieving the goals of universal electronic payments, a less cash society and financial inclusion using the latest technology trends,” NPCI says.

BBVA joins Apple Pay

February 11th, 2015

BBVA Compass cardholders in the US can now add their cards to Apple Pay as the bank has become the latest to join more than 60 banks in supporting the mobile payments service. “Users will continue to receive all of the rewards and benefits offered by their BBVA Compass credit and debit cards,” the bank says.

JetBlue to accept Apple Pay

February 10th, 2015

JetBlue Airways is to become the first major US domestic carrier to accept Apple Pay for onboard purchases such as food and drink. “JetBlue will deploy iPad Minis and NFC-enabled cases to more than 3,500 inflight crewmembers,” the airline says. “Each iPad Mini will be loaded with a custom-designed iOS app — the Inflight Service Assistant — which will give inflight crewmembers access to customer manifest and flight data to provide the best experience possible to JetBlue customers.”

Mozido buys PayEase

February 10th, 2015

Mobile payments platform provider Mozido has acquired Chinese cross-border payment gateway provider PayEase with the aim of introducing its mobile payments and retail marketing solutions into the Chinese market. The move follows the company’s acquisition of mobile commerce specialist CorFire in December 2014 and a US$2.5m investment in SimplyTapp last week.

Generation Z prefers biometrics to passwords

February 9th, 2015

Three quarters (76%) of the UK’s “Generation Z” consumers — aged between 16 and 24 — say they would feel comfortable making a payment using biometric security, a survey conducted by Opinion Matters for Visa Europe has revealed, and 69% believe it would make their lives faster and easier. Overall, Generation Z rated biometrics as a 7 out of 10 compared with non-biometrics at 6 out of 10.

Swatch to launch NFC smartwatch

February 6th, 2015

Swiss watchmaker Swatch Group is to launch a smartwatch that includes NFC and mobile payments capabilities and works with both Android and Windows phones, CEO Nick Hayek has told Bloomberg. “Swatch is in talks with retailers on its payment system, Hayek said, without naming them. The device will enter the market in two to three months.” Last month, Swiss supermarket chain Migros was reported to be working on a mobile payments service that would work in its own locations as well as other stores.

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