Bank of America to Test Contactless microSD Cards with Visa

Aug 20 2010

Another bank in the United States has disclosed plans to test contactless-mobile payment using microSD cards. (Updated).

Bank of America, one of the largest banks in the U.S., confirmed it would use the tiny flash memory cards in a trial planned to begin in September in New York City, Reuters news service reported today. The trial, which will run through the end of the year, will involve an undisclosed number of employees and customers, who will insert the microSD cards with Visa payWave applications onboard into smartphones. UPDATE: The smartphone models will include Apple's iPhone. END UPDATE

News of the trial follows earlier reports that another large American bank, U.S. Bank, will test the contactless microSDs later in the fall. The cards for both trials are supplied by U.S.-based DeviceFidelity under an exclusive agreement with Visa. Some U.S. Bank trial participants will use special attachments for Apple’s iPhone, which does not come with an SD-card slot. In Turkey, Akbank and Visa Europe have also said they plan to test the microSDs.

"We see this as a critical capability given the increasing acceptance and adoption of bank services on the phone," Bank of America's head of electronic commerce, Laurie Readhead, told Reuters.

UPDATE: A Bank of America spokeswoman told NFC Times that trial participants will be able to use the microSD cards and the BofA mobile wallet with BlackBerry models 9000 9630 and 9700, in addition to the iPhone. That will take in both subscribers of Verizon and AT&T, she said, the two largest U.S. mobile operators. The iPhone users would get the contactless attachment made by DeviceFidelity. But she indicated the service would not be limited to the Visa network. "The mobile wallet used for this trial will support the major networks," she said, though declined to elaborate. It's unclear what other networks would be involved. The trial could potentially involve microSD cards from another supplier, although that is unlikely. END UPDATE.

The contactless microSDs are considered a bridge technology to full NFC phones, which are not yet on the market. But some banks might be tempted to continue to use the flash cards, since they allow the financial institutions to bypass mobile operators and offer mobile payment directly to customers. The big U.S. banks could find themselves competing directly with the largest U.S. telcos, including Verizon and AT&T, which are planning their own payment scheme using NFC phones.

The contactless microSDs only work in card-emulation mode, that is, they cannot read data from other contactless chips or exchange data in peer-to-peer mode, as NFC phones can. But unlike passive-contactless stickers, the microSDs are designed to communicate directly with apps on the phones. Vendors are also trying to incorporate full NFC in the microSDs.

Except for the iPhone attachment, which has a full contactless antenna, most microSDs require a power boost from the phones to transmit data to point-of-sale terminal readers.

Visa, which has been testing the microSD cards internally, likely plans more tests of the microSDs with banks.

Article comments

 
nfc_love Aug 23 2010

Great news...!

Please register or login to post a comment.

HEADLINE NEWS

USA Technologies Seeks to Bolster Services, Markets with Acquisition of Cantaloupe Systems

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Unattended point-of-sale vendor USA Technologies expects to close its $85 million deal to acquire competitor Cantaloupe Systems next week, telling NFC Times the deal will add to USAT’s suite of services and expand its international reach.

Orange Cash Gets New Life as Part of Orange Bank App

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – As expected, Orange will continue offering its NFC-enabled Orange Cash Visa-branded card with the launch of its Orange Bank mobile service.

First HCE-Enabled JCB Cards to Hit Market in Taiwan in First Quarter

Nov 14 2017

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Japanese credit card company JCB will participate early next year in a mobile wallet from the Taiwan Mobile Payment banking joint venture, marking the first time JCB will support host card emulation in a mobile payments service.

Canadians Take to Contactless Cards, but NFC Wallets? Not So Much

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – While a well-developed contactless card and POS terminal infrastructure and strong consumer take-up of contactless card payments has often been touted as the gateway to use of mobile payments, that is often not the case. Take Canada, for instance.

New York Approves Delayed Contract for Contactless Fare Collection, Clearing Way for Rides with NFC Wallets

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority board has approved a long-anticipated contract to enable riders to pay with contactless credit and debit cards, including cards loaded into NFC mobile wallets, by 2019–the largest transit authority to do so since Transport for London launched open-loop fare collection in late 2012.

Fitbit Chief Plans to Enable Entire Product Line for Payments with NFC; Challenges Lie Ahead

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – LAS VEGAS:  Fitbit CEO James Park today said the large wearables maker plans to enable contactless payments across its entire range of devices over the next few years using NFC technology, a move he said he hopes will help make contactless payments “ubiquitous around the world.”

Major League Baseball to Roll Out Availability of NFC Ticketing in 2018, but Will Stadiums Adopt the Technology?

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Major League Baseball in the U.S. may roll out NFC mobile ticketing next year as part of Apple Pay, although it’s unclear how many stadiums or other venues would be involved, sources told NFC Times.

Apple Promotes ‘Everyday’ Commerce for Apple Pay as It Seeks to Increase Transactions

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – LAS VEGAS:  As Apple continues to try to address what many observers consider to be a disappointing showing for its now three-year-old payments service, Apple Pay chief Jennifer Bailey played up the theme “Everyday (commerce) With Apple Pay,” during a keynote at the Money 20/20 fintech show Sunday.

Group Representing Big U.S. Banks Plans to Issue Own Tokens for Cards Carrying Major Brands

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The Clearing House, a group of the largest banks in the U.S., announced its first plans to tokenize cards branded by a major network, as the banks seek to reduce their dependence on tokenization by the major card schemes.

Apple Watch Likely to Lag Behind in Tag-Reading Ecosystem

NFC TIMES Exclusive – As the NFC tag industry responds to iOS 11, Apple Watch isn’t drawing much focus, and use cases for tag-reading on the wearable remain limited.

Mobile Payments Contribute to Slow Decline of Cash

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Mobile payments are one of the key factors driving the gradual replacement of cash with card and digital payments, according to the annual World Payments Report released this week by consulting and IT services firm Capgemini and major French bank BNP Paribas.

Apple Pay Finally Signs Up Second Major Bank in New Zealand

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – In certain markets, Apple continues to face resistance from major banks, which, among other things, do not want to participate in an Apple-branded wallet. That’s true in Australia and in such major Western European markets as France, Spain and Italy, where only one major bank in each country is supporting Apple Pay.