US Mastercard issuers commit to contactless

Mastercard Inc CEO Ajay Banga on Q4 2018 results — Seeking Alpha — “We’ve received commitments from issuers representing approximately two thirds of our total US consumer volume to issue contactless cards within the next two years. This includes Citi, Capital One, KeyBanc, Santander, HSBC and others. We’re also working with leading processors like FIS to bring contactless to smaller issuers and to credit unions.” 


Tourism Australia adds visitor card to Alipay

Tourism Australia, Alipay partner on new geotargeted Sydney City mobile app — CMO — “Chinese tourists will be able to access recommendations on what to see, where to shop and how to get around, all within an app they are familiar with and while being offered their preferred payment method… The Sydney City Card is built into the Alipay app, so no opt-in is required.” 


Google Pay to launch in Israel ‘by the end of this year’

Google Pay preparing to launch its digital wallet service in Israel — Haaretz — “Google plans to launch by the end of this year its Google Pay digital wallet platform and online payment system in Israel… The giant US company has been undertaking a round of meetings with regulators, bank executives, credit card companies and financial technology startups. The campaign, which involves a team from Google Israel, includes playing a role in Israel’s rapidly growing e-commerce sector as well as in brick-and-mortar retail.” 


Temple University switches on support for iPhone campus cards

A student opens a barrier using an NFC version of Temple University's Owl card

Students and staff at Temple University in the US can now use their iPhone or Apple Watch as their campus identification card. The programme, which was announced by Apple last year, allows holders of the University’s physical OWLcard to use their Apple device instead for a number of services around the campus. These include gaining entry to buildings, accessing facilities including computers and printers and to buy meals. More


Discover adds support for Garmin Pay

Discover cardmembers can now make payments on the move with Garmin Pay — Discover — “Garmin Pay, which is powered by FitPay, is available on Garmin’s latest active lifestyle smartwatches… Discover cardmembers can use Garmin Pay at any merchant retail location that accepts both Discover and contactless Near Field Communication (NFC) transactions. Once a payment card is added to Garmin’s virtual wallet — which can be done through the Garmin Connect mobile app — users can tap and pay with just a few quick touches.” 


Saudi Arabia and UAE to develop joint digital currency

UAE and Saudi Arabia announce launch of common digital currency ‘Aber’ — Emirates 24/7 — “The United Arab Emirates Central Bank (UAECB) and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) today announced in a joint statement the launch of the common digital currency project ‘Aber’, which will be used in financial settlements between the two countries through blockchains and distributed ledgers technologies.” 


Marshall Islands to issue digital currency ‘banknotes’

Tangem to produce physical blockchain banknotes for the Marshall Islands’ digital currency legal tender — Tangem — “Each Tangem card will take the form of a unique physical banknote with secure blockchain-enabled microprocessor inside and combine the familiar advantages of paper banknotes with the security of blockchain technology. These protected notes will be fully transparent, 100% secure, decentralized, and represent a controllable mechanism of currency issuance and circulation for the state.” 


Tokyo Metro tests rewards program for transit card holders who avoid peak travel times

Tokyo Metro aims to ease morning rush hour overcrowding — with free soba and tempura — The Japan Times — “Tozai Line passengers who register with the campaign will be eligible to receive coupons that can be used at Metro An, a soba noodle shop affiliated with the subway operator… Users need to sign up to Tokyo Metro’s early-rising campaign for Tozai Line passengers and register their IC card information beforehand… To participate in the initiative they need to go through the ticket gate before a certain time of the morning, which depends on the station.” 


Louis Vuitton unveils luxury NFC smartwatch

Louis Vuitton’s new Wear OS luxury smartwatch fully revealed — PhoneArena — “Besides the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 3100 processor, the newest platform for smartwatches, Louis Vuitton Tambour Horizon sports a 1.2-inch circular Amoled display (390 x 390 pixels resolution), 1GB RAM and 8GB internal memory… The smartwatch comes with NFC (near field communication) technology that will allow users to make payments on the fly using Google Pay.” 


DBS pilots loadable red packets for Chinese New Year

DBS pilots world’s first loadable QR red packets — DBS Bank — “DBS is introducing a new way to celebrate Chinese New Year this year with the pilot launch of a loadable QR red packet (DBS QR Ang Bao), a global first… Customers simply need to scan a unique QR code on a DBS QR Ang Bao to ‘load’ a cash value of up to SGD 999. They may then gift the DBS QR Ang Bao to their family and friends, who can scan the QR code with their own DBS PayLah! app to receive the loaded amount.” 


Lydia lets friends make NFC payments from shared expense accounts

Lydia launches shared accounts for its mobile payment app — Techcrunch — “When you create a shared account, each user can top up the account using other Lydia sub-accounts, a traditional bank account that you have already connected to the app or a debit card… Once the account is up and running, anybody can spend money. You can generate a virtual card, add it to Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay, and associate it with the shared account. If you’re on a ski trip and buying raclette cheese for your group of friends, you can then pay with your phone and debit the shared account.” 


Samsung to include a cryptocurrency key store in the Galaxy S10?

Samsung Blockchain KeyStore confirmed by Galaxy S10 leaked images — SamMobile — “The images show the Samsung Blockchain Keystore app running on the Galaxy S10. The splash page mentions that this app is a ‘secure and convenient place for your cryptocurrency’… There’s also going to be a relevant menu item for Blockchain KeyStore in the Settings app under the Biometrics and Security section. It mentions that the service lets users secure and manage their blockchain private key.” 


Luxochain to use NFC and the blockchain to guarantee the authenticity of luxury goods

Luxochain combats counterfeiting with launch of authentication and tracking service of luxury goods on the blockchain — Luxochain — “At the stage of manufacture, all authentic luxury products will be fitted with an invisible and encrypted serial number (a Block ID). The ID is associated with a token that is uniquely identifiable, to which luxury brands will register on the blockchain. Once inputted, the information can never be altered from the outside. Certifying authenticity at the point of sale using blockchain technology, customers can scan the code and ascertain the authenticity of the product.” 


Rohm to use ST NFC chips for wireless charging in cars

NFC reader IC and 8-bit microcontroller from STMicroelectronics adopted by Rohm for Qi automotive wireless charging design — STMicroelectronics — PARTNER NEWS — “One benefit of ST’s technology contribution is to enable the sophisticated control that makes possible the detection of contactless smart cards in proximity to the charging system in order to halt the charging immediately. This important and appreciated function prevents the failure of those cards due to the strong magnetic field generated by the Qi transmitter.” 


Microsoft to shut down its Microsoft Wallet service

Microsoft Wallet for Windows Phone to be retired in February — Windows Central — “Support is set to end for all Windows 10 Mobile devices by the end of this year, and Microsoft is already beginning to retire apps in anticipation. In an update to the Microsoft Wallet website, Microsoft has noted that the app will be ‘officially retired’ on February 28, 2019.”