Dan Balaban's blog

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.

For One Apple Pay Issuer, It’s All about Ubiquity and Speed

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – After Capital One dropped out of the Isis wallet last year, the large U.S. credit card issuer let it be known that one of the biggest reasons it was snubbing Isis was that it believed it had to cede too much control to the third-party wallet provider. 

How Apple Will Likely Implement NFC Mobile Payments; Hint: TSMs Need Not Apply

UPDATED: There’s little doubt now that Apple will support NFC and mobile payments in its next iPhone. The remaining question is exactly how it will do so.

IPhone NFC Buzz Grows Louder, Could be More than Speculation

There is no confirmation yet that Apple will adopt NFC for the forthcoming iPhone 6, but some sources have told NFC Times they believe there is substance to the rumors that Cupertino is finally ready to adopt the technology this year.

Although Banks are Looking Keenly at HCE, NFC SIM Not Dead Yet

NFC Times Exclusive: While banks gearing up for NFC launches are keenly interested in host-card emulation, as this week’s NFC Times story about planned NFC launches in France notes, a number of banks in France and elsewhere do not plan to wait until HCE is mature enough for commercial rollouts.

Telcos, SIM Vendors Live with HCE; MasterCard Grows Silent on Google Waiver, Weve Deal

With Google’s strong push behind host-card emulation and endorsements from Visa and MasterCard Worldwide, mobile operators, SIM vendors and TSMs are resigned to living with the technology, even publicly supporting it–up to a point.


Caps on Contactless Transactions to be Thing of the Past for European Consumers

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – With contactless card payment growing more popular in Europe and high-profile NFC mobile-payments services such as Apple Pay starting to gain a foothold there, payment schemes are preparing to significantly raise or eliminate caps on transaction value to try to encourage even more growth in contactless and NFC payments.

China Construction Bank Launches NFC Payments Using Host Card Emulation, Following ICBC

Oct 3 2015

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – At least one more of China’s big four banks, and perhaps two, have reportedly introduced mobile payments with host card emulation, following Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which launched HCE-based service in May.

Mozido Tops Gemalto to Win Taiwanese HCE and Tokenization Contract

NFC Times Exclusive A joint venture of Taiwanese banks and banking groups has chosen U.S.-based Mozido to supply it with host card emulation, tokenization and wallet technology, a surprise win for Mozido, which bought the U.S. mobile commerce arm of South Korean IT services firm SK C&C less than a year ago, NFC Times has learned. 

With Slow NFC SIM Take-Up and Apple Pay Looming, Banking Group Expedites HCE and Tokenization Platform

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – With SIM-based NFC not taking off in Taiwan and Apple Pay’s eventual arrival on the island considered inevitable, a consortium of Taiwanese banks is expediting plans to add host card emulation and tokenization to their conventional TSM offer.

USA Technologies: Nearly 300,000 Vending Machines Accept NFC; Apple Pay, Android Pay Drive Demand

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – U.S.-based unattended retail payments company USA Technologies had nearly 300,000 NFC-enabled cashless payment terminals connected to its network as of the end of the 2015 fiscal year and expects that to grow strongly next year, as mobile-payments services such as Android Pay roll out, the company said.

Contactless Payments Pioneer Barclaycard Announces Plans to Launch HCE; Builds Technology In-House

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Barclaycard, one of the top payment card issuers in the UK, plans to launch NFC payments from its mobile-banking app in November using host card emulation, which will allow the issuer to avoid putting its payment applications on secure elements to roll out mobile payments.

Google Launches Android Pay as HCE Alternative to Rival Apple Pay Service

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Google officially launched Android Pay in the U.S., its host card emulation-based rival to Apple Pay and its second stab at rolling out NFC payments for in-store payments, following its little-used Google Wallet.

MasterCard Tokenization Launch Matches Visa’s, as Both Schemes Make Play for Mobile Transactions

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – MasterCard Worldwide Tuesday announced its hub-like commercial tokenization program, Digital Enablement Express, a widely expected move that matches a similar service that rival Visa introduced in late May, Visa Digital Enablement Program, or VDEP. Like VDEP, MasterCard’s new tokenization program has signed up Google and Samsung for their respective payments services, though neither MasterCard nor Visa has announced that Apple would join.

Trustonic Says Funding for Joint Venture Increasing Despite Divestiture by G&D

NFC Times Exclusive – Mobile security company Trustonic says its two remaining owners are increasing funding for the joint venture, and it plans to get into new markets, as the company seeks to capitalize on growing interest in securing mobile payment services, among other applications.

SIM-Based NFC Payments Pioneer CaixaBank Launches New App Supporting HCE

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – CaixaBank, Spain’s large savings bank and one of the most important early adopters globally among financial institutions of SIM-based NFC payments, has introduced a mobile-payments app based on host card emulation.

Shutdown of Softcard Costs Major Technology Supplier Gemalto Millions

Aug 28 2015

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – France-based Gemalto estimates it is losing around €30 million (US$33.8 million) in revenue per quarter from the closing of the Softcard mobile-payments service in the U.S. last March–a setback that will end up costing the vendor nearly €100 million in lost sales this year and around €50 million in profit.

EMVCo to Release Overdue Tokenization Updates This Year; But Unclear if Major Update Planned for 2015

NFC Times Exclusive – Commercial standards organization EMVCo says it will publish what are considered overdue updates to its tokenization specification before the end of the year, though the organization is releasing few specific details overall, and it’s unclear whether there will be a major update to the specification this year, NFC Times has learned.