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

Deutsche Telekom Payments Chief Departs; Telco to Revamp Struggling Wallet, Including Planned Support for HCE

NFC Times Exclusive – Deutsche Telekom has appointed a new head of payments and plans to support host-card emulation among other technologies as it seeks to revamp its struggling NFC mobile wallet, NFC Times has learned.

People on the Move: Sequent Software CEO Steps Down; Interim CEO Appointed

NFC Times Exclusive – Sequent Software, a supplier of mobile wallets, TSM and host-card emulation products, has appointed an interim CEO, replacing Robb Duffield, who stepped down earlier this month after having served as CEO for the Silicon Valley-based vendor for just under three years.

GSMA, Telcos Consider Common Platform to Support Tokenization on SIMs

NFC Times Exclusive – Mobile operators are considering shopping for technology to launch a common platform to request tokenized payment cards from such providers as MasterCard Worldwide and Visa and to load the tokens onto their NFC SIM cards, NFC Times has learned.

Visa and MasterCard Change Strategy on Tokenization Fees; Observers See Gambit to Lock in Market

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Visa maintains that its offer to waive tokenization fees for the long term is designed to simplify the connections between thousands of card issuers and such wallet providers as Google and, perhaps later, Apple, thus driving widespread rollouts of mobile-payments services.

Vodafone’s Proxy-Card Service Likely to Face Difficult Market

NFC Times Exclusive – Vodafone Group’s proxy-card NFC mobile-payments offer, which is designed to enable subscribers to add their credit and debit cards to their Vodafone Wallets as funding accounts linked to a Vodafone prepaid card stored on the SIM, has yet to be launched by any major Vodafone branch operator in Europe.

Canadian Telcos Refuse to Give up On SIM-Based NFC, Though Many Challenges Lie Ahead

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – The head of the Canadian telco joint venture Suretap Wallet told NFC Times that this week’s launch of the telco’s new wallet service was not prompted by the expected expansion of Apple Pay into Canada later this year.

At Least Some U.S. POS Terminals to be Ready to Support Apple Wallet Rewards

NFC Times Exclusive – Major point-of sale-terminal vendors say that their most recently deployed terminals and perhaps others will be ready to accept loyalty cards from Apple’s Wallet when the nonpayment application launches with iOS 9 this fall.

CASE STUDY: Asia-Pac’s First HCE Launch–Higher Transaction Value, Though User Numbers Remain Small

Jun 23 2015

UPDATED: NFC Times Exclusive – Australian credit union CUA has seen a 16% increase in value of transactions for mobile payments since the launch of its host-card emulation mobile-payments app last summer, though user numbers have remained small 11 months after one of the first HCE commercial launches globally.

Vendors Say Mobile Payments at Vending Machines on the Rise

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Suppliers of cashless payment for vending machines predict the rollout of Apple Pay, along with planned introduction of Android Pay, will continue to reduce the use of cash at U.S. vending machines and will also lead to higher transaction amounts, though did not release actual figures.

Taiwan Banking Joint Venture to Request Tenders for HCE and Tokenization Platform

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Taiwan’s banking joint venture, Taiwan Mobile Payment Co., has disclosed that it will issue a request for tenders for a host-card emulation and tokenization platform, with plans calling for the technology to be made available to Taiwanese banks for mobile-payments launches by the end of the year.

Apple, Transport for London Face Potential Problems Enabling Apple Pay for Fare Collection

NFC Times Exclusive – Both Apple and Transport for London are trumpeting the coming use of Apple Pay to pay fares on various modes of mass transit in London, including the fast-paced London Underground. But they face a couple of problems.

Apple Announces Addition of Nonpayments Applications, First International Expansion for Apple Pay

Jun 11 2015

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Apple today announced major new updates to Apple Pay, including the addition of store credit, debit and loyalty cards in the U.S., expansion of the mobile-payments service to its first overseas market, the UK, and a renaming of the wallet app itself from Passbook to Wallet.