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.

HEADLINE NEWS

OTI Takes Steps to Reach Profitability, But Remains Mum on Guidance

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – On Track Innovations CEO Shlomi Cohen sought to reassure investors that the company he took over nine months ago is more competitive and is moving toward profitability, though he declines to predict when it will turn its first yearly profit since its founding in 1990.

Apple Breaks Resistance of Big Five Banks in Canada; Debit Scheme Interac among TSPs to Tokenize Cards

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Apple has cracked the big five banks in Canada, with two of the country’s largest banks, including Royal Bank of Canada, today announcing they are participating in Apple Pay, with the three others to follow.

Officials Seek to Welcome Apple Pay and Other ‘Pays’ to Taiwan; but Call on Visa to Create Level Playing Field for TSPs

May 6 2016

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – The issue over availability of tokenization services and whether the major global networks, such as Visa, are allowing for a level playing field among token service providers has reached Taiwanwith a former prime minister and chief banking regulator weighing in on the topic–as Taiwanese officials decide how best to expedite the arrival of such mobile payments services as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay.

NXP Semiconductors CEO Still Sees Transit Fare Collection as Main NFC Growth Engine in China

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Despite providing the NFC technology for three “OEM Pays” that have launched in China or which are scheduled to do so, NXP Semiconductors CEO Richard Clemmer still says he sees transit fare collection as the main opportunity going forward for the chip maker’s NFC technology in China.

Yandex.Money Uses HCE to Enable NFC Payments in Russia

NFC Times Exclusive insight – Yandex.Money, sometimes called the “Russian PayPal,” is using host card emulation for its new NFC-enabled payments service, a Yandex.Money representative told NFC Times. PayPal earlier told NFC Times it also plans to use HCE for its app in the U.S.

Networks Continue to Dominate Tokenization as Vendors Wait for Token Service Provider Specs

May 10 2016

NFC Times Exclusive – More than two years after EMVCo released its tokenization guidelines, there are still few token service providers operating besides those of the major payments networks, and there are no specifications yet from top networks Visa and MasterCard to help vendors to tokenize cards supporting their brands.

ANZ Launches with Apple Pay, as Apple Picks Off One of Big Four Australian Banks

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – ANZ is the first bank in Australia to launch with Apple Pay, with Apple able to crack into the big four banks, which had been balking at signing up for the payments service mainly because of Apple’s demands for transaction fees.

Xiaomi Announces Plans to Join Crowded ‘Pays’ Club, but Offers Few Details on Launch, Issuers

Apr 27 2016

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is the latest OEM to announce plans to join the “Pays” club, working with payments network China UnionPay to launch an NFC-enabled mobile payments service in China, although giving no details on a launch date or participating banks.

SIMalliance Reports NFC SIM Shipments were ‘Static’ in 2015 but Refuses to Release Global Figures

NFC Times Exclusive Insight –  It is perhaps a measure of just how big of a hit SIM suppliers took from the closing of the Softcard wallet in the U.S. early last year that their SIMalliance vendor trade group is refusing to release NFC SIM shipment figures publicly for either the North American market or globally for 2015.

Three Major Singaporean Banks Agree to Support Apple Pay; Samsung Follows

Apr 20 2016

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Three of Singapore’s largest banks will soon launch mobile payments with Apple Pay, Apple disclosed Tuesday, as it launched Apple Pay in its sixth country.

Many U.S. Merchants Continue to Balk at Accepting NFC Wallets; One Reason: Suspicions that Wallet Providers Could Get Their Data

NFC Times Exclusive – Few industry sources agree on the size of the contactless-acceptance footprint in the U.S. that enables merchants to accept Apple Pay and other NFC-enabled wallets; but one thing most of them do agree on is that contactless acceptance is not sufficient to support any kind of significant adoption of the wallets.

Restructuring Helps G&D Turn Around Financial Results from Gloomy 2014

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Germany-based Giesecke & Devrient turned around its financial results in 2015, including its money-losing banking and SIM card unit, thanks mainly to restructuring and higher shipments of EMV bank cards to China and the U.S., the privately held company disclosed Tuesday.