ANZ Tries to Counter Published Report of ‘Failed’ MicroSD Trial

ANZ bank in Australia says it has nothing against the idea of using microSD cards for mobile payment.

But you wouldn’t know that from reading the tech press lately, which has described a recent employee trial the bank held with Visa using contactless microSDs in the iPhone as flopping.

Of course, not everyone in the bank appears to have the same view of the technology.

The problem started with a story in a technology publication ZDNet Australia, which quoted a supposed statement from ANZ saying that employees participating in the four-week trial “strongly supported contactless payment as a convenient way to pay, but the microSD technology did not meet all of our requirements.”

The purported statement went on to say that the bank would “not be progressing” with microSDs for mobile payment.

A number of other publications copied the story, many repeating ZDNet’s conclusion that the trial has “failed.”

ANZ and Visa Inc.’s Australia office countered two days later with a joint press release, June 29, calling the trial a “success.”

It said more than 90% of the 50 participating employees liked the convenience of being able to pay with their mobile phones. In addition, nearly 80% of the pilot participants said they would “consider getting a Visa payWave enabled microSD if it was commercially available,” according to the release.

An ANZ spokesman, Stephen Ries, was quoted in an article in The Australian that the bank, having completed the trial in April, “will wait and see how the technology evolves.”

This was interpreted by the tech press to mean that the bank likes NFC, but not microSDs.

Spokesman Stephen Ries told NFC Times that that, too, was a misinterpretation.

“When I said we would take a wait-and-see approach, I was referring to the technology in general. I wasn’t referring to a particular type of technology.”

He added that the comments initially published as a statement from the bank actually came from a bank staffer “misspeaking without consulting with the business on their view.

“Somebody did say it, but it was not accurate,” Ries said in an e-mail response. “We haven’t made a call on what type of technology, yet, other than we think NFC is here for the long term, and the pilot confirmed this.”

What remains unclear is whether anyone else in the payments department at ANZ shares the view of this apparently rogue employee, who reportedly made the original comments that microSDs don’t meet the bank’s needs.

In general, there is debate over the issuing models and overall business case for microSDs.

They can give many more phones a contactless interface than now support NFC. And perhaps more importantly, they give issuers of the cards, such as banks or wallet providers, control over the embedded secure element in the cards. This means they don’t have to go through mobile operators, in particular, to introduce contactless-mobile payment.

Visa has certified some BlackBerry and Android models and the three latest iPhone models for use with microSD cards from vendor DeviceFidelity, which provided the cards for ANZ.

But not all phones have a microSD card slot, and those that do require a booster antenna–in the form of a sticker attached to the inside back covers of the phones certified for use with the cards. This extends the range of the contactless communication between the phones and point-of-sale terminals to an acceptable level.

For the iPhone, which does not have a microSD card slot, DeviceFidelity also has designed a contactless iPhone case with a card slot.

MicroSDs can be personalized like conventional payment cards, but obviously cost substantially more.

DeviceFidelity’s CEO, Deepak Jain, earlier told NFC Times that the cost for the contactless functionality and software on the microSDs would add less than $10 to the cost of a standard microSD card with the same memory.

The vendor's cards come with up to a few gigabytes. Jain said the low memory, however, would not cause problems for users because most smartphones come with embedded memory on which they could store content.

 

HEADLINE NEWS

Consulting Firm: Not Sure Whether Contactless Card Deployment Will Help or Hurt NFC Wallets

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – With U.S. banks planning to renew tens of millions of their EMV credit and debit cards this year with an added contactless interface, industry observers are naturally considering how the rollouts will affect adoption of NFC mobile wallets.

Rio de Janeiro Metro Launches Open-Loop Payments with New Visa Transit SAM

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The Rio de Janeiro Metro has launched its planned open-loop payments service, one of the first Latin American transit systems to accept bank cards–in this case, Visa credit cards­–directly for payment of rides.

In-Depth: Major Pays Wallets Accelerate Support for Closed-Loop Transit Ticketing

NFC TIMES Exclusive – One of the key battlegrounds for Apple, Google and Samsung as they seek more users for their respective Pays wallets is transit ticketing–with all three tech giants targeting both open-loop payments and–perhaps surprisingly–also closed-loop transit cards. (See table below).

Report: Will Deployment of Contactless EMV Cards in U.S. Drive Growth of NFC Mobile Payments? Conclusions Hard to Draw

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – With U.S. banks finally beginning to issue dual-interface EMV cards in significant numbers this year and more U.S. merchants accepting contactless and NFC payments, a key question becomes whether contactless card payment will help or hurt the prospects for what has generally been considered as disappointing take-up of NFC wallets.

Half of Face-to-Face Visa Transactions Outside of U.S. Expected to be Contactless Soon

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Half of all domestic face-to-face transactions with Visa-branded cards globally–outside of the U.S.–are expected to be contactless within the next two months, with Visa reporting that contactless technology is maturing in numerous countries worldwide, mainly in Europe and Asia.

Analysis: Canadians Increasingly Pay with Contactless Cards, Although Cash Continues to Play Key Role

Apr 22 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Contactless transactions in Canada topped 50% of all in-store card transactions for the first time ever during the first quarter of this year, said the country’s largest payments card processor, Moneris, this week.

Contactless Card Transactions Could Overtake Taps from NFC Phones ‘Quickly’ in the U.S.: Industry Veteran

Apr 23 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Transactions from contactless bank cards in the U.S. will “quickly surpass” those from NFC phones by the end of 2020, despite cards being rolled out much later than NFC-enabled wallets, industry veteran Randy Vanderhoof, head of the Secure Technology Alliance industry trade group and the affiliated U.S. Payments Forum, told NFC Times.

Samsung's Deal with Taiwan’s EasyCard is Latest in Global Push by Pays Wallets to Support Transit Payments

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Samsung Pay is the first of the major NFC Pays wallets to announce it is working with Taiwan’s large closed-loop transit and retail payments service EasyCard, as it seeks to differentiate itself in a crowded and fast-growing mobile-payments market on the island nation.

In-Depth: Garmin Pay Provisioning Company Fit Pay Hopes to Build on Early Lead with Spin-Off, but Larger Competitors are Gearing Up

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – U.S.-based Nxt-ID disclosed late Thursday that the spin-off of its payments unit, Fit Pay, which provides bank card provisioning for Garmin Pay, would again be delayed, as it waits another couple of weeks for the closing of a nearly $17 million loan it needs to move forward with the new company.

In-Depth: Australia’s No. 2 City Shuns Open-Loop Transit Payments, Sticking with Closed-Loop Mifare for Launch of Mobile Service

Apr 10 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – While Australia is the top market worldwide for use of contactless bank cards at retail, any hopes for those same open-loop cards and card credentials on NFC phones being used as part of a nationwide, interoperable transit payments service have been dashed for now. 

Analysis: Apple Announces Breakthrough with Apple Card, but is It Mostly Slick Marketing?

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – With typical style and élan, Apple introduced its new credit card, Apple Card, at a product launch event this week, one of several new services the tech giant is counting on to provide growth as its iPhone sales slip.

In-Depth: Nxt-ID Gets Much-Needed Financing, Clearing Way to Spin Off Its Payments Wearables Provisioning Unit Fit Pay

Apr 5 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – U.S.-based Nxt-ID, whose Fit Pay unit provides payment card provisioning for Garmin Pay, has announced a closing date for a $16.5 million loan it will use for working capital and to refinance an existing loan.