Dan Balaban's blog

Anderson, Lambert Keep Top Posts Under Lyons in MasterCard’s Reorganized Emerging Payments Unit

NFC Times Exclusive – The structure of MasterCard’s recently reorganized emerging payments unit is becoming clearer, with the payment scheme taking another stab at revamping the unit, which it considers key to its future growth, NFC Times has learned.

Tip Sheet: Apple Holds Line on Transaction Fee Demands in Certain Countries

NFC Times Exclusive – While Apple is believed to have offered Chinese financial institutions a price break on the cut of transaction fees it demands for participating in Apple Pay, the tech giant doesn’t appear to have extended the same offer to banks in some other countries.

Tip Sheet: Vodafone Tries Proxy Play Again, This Time with PayPal; MasterCard Executive Departs

NFC Times Exclusive – No, PayPal is not supporting NFC, contrary to what has been widely reported by the content aggregator publications the past week, as part of its announcement of a deal with Vodafone.

From ‘Sixpack’ to Fragmentation in the Netherlands

NFC Times Exclusive – The thinking behind the planned NFC joint venture among the three largest telcos and three biggest banks in the Netherlands back in 2010 was that companies controlling a combined 80% or 90% of their respective markets would be able to cover nearly all Dutch mobile subscribers and banking customers with their forthcoming mobile payments services, thus avoiding fragmentation.

Apple Pay to Launch in China as Early as Next Week; UnionPay Expected to Pay Fees

NFC Times Exclusive – UPDATE: Apple Pay was expected to launch in China sometime before the beginning of Lunar New Year, but now one or more sources in China say they expect it to happen as early as next week, nearly three weeks before New Year’s Day, which is Feb. 8. 

Analysis: Gemalto’s Samsung Pay Deal Likely Small; Vendor’s MFS Unit Struggles after Softcard Collapse

NFC Times Exclusive – Gemalto’s deal to supply TSM technology for Samsung Pay when the mobile-payments service launches in Europe, which Gemalto announced today, might net some favorable coverage for the vendor, but it will do little to help its struggling mobile financial services unit.

MCX Merchant Group Changes Leadership as It Faces Growing Pressure to Launch

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Retailer consortium MCX didn’t fire its CEO, Dekkers Davidson, because one of its major founding merchants, Best Buy, snubbed the group by agreeing to accept Apple Pay. But that was probably the last straw.

Apple CEO Proclaims ‘Year of Apple Pay,’ Though Offers Few Facts to Back it Up; Yet Platform Provides Twin Breakthroughs

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – In his usual gushing tone, Apple CEO Tim Cook proclaimed 2015 as the “year of Apple Pay,” though he gave few meaningful details on actual use of the new payments platform since it was launched three months ago or on merchant acceptance or Apple’s expansion plans outside of the U.S.

Why it Would Make Little Sense for Google to Buy Softcard, Unless Perhaps it Gets Preloaded App

Google is almost certainly in talks with Softcard to acquire the joint venture from its telco owners, but the question is, what would Google gain from such a deal?

Former Isis CMO: Onerous TSM Requirement Kept Banks Away from Wallet

UPDATED: NFC Times Exclusive – Ryan Hughes, former chief marketing officer for the Isis joint venture, said he recalls sitting in weekly prioritization meetings on Friday afternoons, and when representatives from the mobile carriers that own Isis would ask why the JV was not making more progress in its rollout, he knew where to point the finger.


Like Domestic Debit Providers Elsewhere, Nets Gears Up to Support Expected Coming of 'Pays' Wallets to Nordics

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – As “Pays” mobile payments services, such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, continue to expand internationally, domestic debit networks and their payments technology providers want to be ready to enable banks to plug into the new wallets, if and when they launch.

Citigroup to Launch ‘Citi Pay’ Mobile Payments Service with Help from Mastercard

NFC Times Exclusive – U.S.-based Citigroup plans to soon launch its own NFC-based mobile payments service, Citi Pay, in the U.S. and Asia, in part using technology from Mastercard, NFC Times has learned.

Apple Pay Launch in Japan Opens Up More Opportunities for Third-Party Vendors

NFC Times Exclusive – As Apple moves closer to launching Apple Pay in Japan, the FeliCa-based service is opening up business opportunities for third-party technology suppliers, unlike most other countries where Apple Pay has launched.

Seamless Goes Ahead with HCE Expansion of SEQR Mobile Wallet for European Users

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Following the initial soft launch of its NFC payments service in its home base, Sweden-based Seamless Distribution, the parent company of the SEQR wallet, is enabling HCE for all European users as it seeks global acceptance of its proprietary mobile payments service.

Apple Pay Expands to Russia with Support from Mastercard and Country’s Biggest Bank

Exclusive NFC Times Insight – Less than a week after Samsung switched on its mobile payments service in Russia, Apple has launched Apple Pay in the country, continuing the international expansion of its NFC payments service to a 10th market.

Reported Qualcomm Deal for NXP Not Expected to Limit NFC Chip Availability

Oct 4 2016

NFC Times Exclusive Insight –  If a planned acquisition by Qualcomm of NXP Semiconductors, as reported, were to go through, it would not affect supplies of NFC chips to smartphone makers using other processor chips, said an expert.

Samsung Pay to Launch in Russia with Support from Mastercard and Limited Number of Banks

Sep 30 2016

UPDATED: NFC Times Excusive Insight – Samsung Pay is expected to launch in Russia tomorrow, beating Apple to the market, which disclosed earlier this month that it plans a Russian launch of Apple Pay before the end of the year.

Two Major Taiwanese Telcos Plan to Adopt HCE, as They Deal with TSM Troubles and Imminent Arrival of OEM Pay

Sep 26 2016

NFC Times Exclusive –  In the first cases of its kind to come to light, two of Taiwan’s largest telcos are planning to support host card emulation in their wallets, as they seek to overcome problems with their joint TSM and to prepare for the coming of OEM Pay to Taiwan, expected in the first quarter of next year, NFC Times has learned.

Prepping for the Pays: Far EasTone Offers Range of Wallet Services It Believes Apple Can’t Match

NFC Times Exclusive – With the expected arrival of such OEM Pay services as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay as early as the first quarter of next year, Taiwan’s major telcos are gearing up to keep their own mobile wallets competitive.

Czech Banks See Opportunity for Deploying HCE Mobile Payments

NFC Times Exclusive – Czech banks are looking to capitalize on a growing contactless point-of-sale infrastructure in the country, with two of the five largest banks there having already launched HCE-based mobile payments and the others looking to join the market, NFC Times has learned.

OEM Pay Services Drive Renewed Interest in NFC Transit Ticketing, Especially in China

Sep 28 2016

NFC Times Exclusive – The planned launch of NFC transit ticketing in Japan next month with Apple Pay shined the spotlight on the emergence of closed-loop NFC transit ticketing–which has been seen as a prime application for NFC phones but one that has disappointed NFC backers for years.

Analysis: Agreements with Visa, Mastercard and Earlier Deal with Discover Could Help PayPal Reverse Years of Failures at Physical Point of Sale

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Agreements that were announced with Visa, Discover and, last week, Mastercard may finally help PayPal reverse years of failed attempts to enable customers to pay with its PayPal Wallet in stores.