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.


NFC No Longer in a Starring Role at Identiv?

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – The new leadership at U.S-based Identiv focused primarily on its premises and identity products, particularly its new partnerships with Cisco, and mentioned its transponder business only briefly, without direct reference to NFC, in its most recent earnings call.

OTI Share Price Falls After Disappointing Q3 Earnings Report

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Three months after new CEO Shlomi Cohen took the reins, Israel-based NFC and contactless vendor On Track Innovations reported a 31% sequential drop in revenue and a continued slump in contactless point-of-sale reader sales for the third quarter.

EMVCo Promises Token Service Provider Registry This Year; Without it, Third Party TSPs Can’t Fully Compete with Schemes

Nov 17 2015

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – EMVCo, the commercial standards organization owned by the world’s largest payment networks, has promised to have its registration process for token service providers ready by the end of the year. Until then, even EMVCo acknowledges that it is more difficult for third-party suppliers to offer tokenization under its specifications–a market that the major payments networks that own EMVCo now dominate in the early going.

MasterCard Licenses HCE Technology for On-Behalf-Of Service in Europe

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – MasterCard’s Poland-based payment transaction processor, Trevica, has licensed host card emulation technology from Turkey-based Cardtek in order to provide a managed HCE service to banks it serves in Europe.

Analysis: Chase Pay Deal with MCX–All About Economics

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – While Chase Pay will offer merchants in the MCX consortium a potential consumer base of 94 million Chase payment card accounts and the promise of integration with their loyalty programs and offers, the essential element of the deal was the very low transaction fees Chase will charge.

After False Start, NXP Adds Wearables as Target for Embedded Chip Loader Service

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – NXP Semiconductors will take another crack at rolling out its “loader service,” which seeks to make it easier for service providers to load payment and other applications on the chip maker’s embedded secure elements by managing keys on the chip.

RBC Drops All Support for NFC SIMs in Favor of HCE; SIMs Created Too Much ‘Friction,’ Says Bank

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – It looked like a promising compromise at the time, when Royal Bank of Canada launched RBC Secure Cloud in January of 2014–a hybrid approach to NFC payments that combined cloud with SIMs, storing a small applet on SIM cards.

NXP Semiconductors Finds Apple Pay Business a Tough Act to Follow

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Apple Pay is proving to be a tough act to follow for NXP Semiconductors, with the Netherlands-based chip maker projecting lower sales next quarter for the business unit that includes its NFC chips, as part of an overall revenue decline for the vendor, which NXP largely blames on the Chinese market.

Deal with AmEx Highlights Continued Problems Frustrating Apple as It Seeks to Expand Apple Pay

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Apple’s announcement of its expansion of Apple Pay to five more markets, including Australia and Canada this year, with only one major issuer– American Express–underscores the problems the tech giant is having in signing up banks for the overseas expansion of its mobile-payments service.

Chase Pay to Challenge Payment Networks, NFC Technology

Oct 28 2015

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – LAS VEGAS, Nev.: In a surprise move, JPMorgan Chase, the largest U.S. credit and debit card issuer by payment volume, announced plans to launch its own wallet app–along with a low-cost mobile-payments service accepted by Wal-Mart Stores and other big U.S. merchants in the MCX merchant consortium.

While Competition Heats Up Among HCE Vendors, Published Certification Lists Remain Thin on the Ground

Nov 6 2015

NFC Times Exclusive – MasterCard has released its first list of certified vendors for host card emulation products supporting its cloud-based payments specifications, though the list includes relatively few suppliers so far. Meanwhile, neither Visa nor MasterCard has apparently certified tokenization suppliers.

Researcher: Apple Bungled Apple Pay Launch from Merchant Acceptance Standpoint

Oct 22 2015

NFC Times Exclusive –  Apple mishandled its rollout of Apple Pay from the standpoint of merchant acceptance, according to a principal with the payments service practice of research firm Phoenix Marketing International, who said a significant percentage of consumers have told the firm they are having trouble finding places to tap their iPhones to pay, along with experiencing other “checkout issues.”