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

Taiwan Regulators Express Doubts about Use of BLE for Top Transit E-Purse; Apple Rejects Purse for Wallet

NFC TIMES Exclusive – TAIPEI, Taiwan: EasyCard Corp., which runs the largest closed-loop transit and retail payments service in Taiwan, is seeking to become the first major transit fare-collection system globally to roll out Bluetooth-based mobile ticketing. But Taiwan’s strict financial regulator still has doubts about the security of the technology.

MediaTek Using NFC Technology from STMicroelectronics, Though Extent of Deal Not Disclosed

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight ­– In what may be a response to the proposed tie-up between Qualcomm and NXP Semiconductors, STMicroelectronics has announced that it is “cooperating” with Taiwan-based MediaTek, the No. 2 supplier of processor chips for smartphones, to integrate its NFC technology into MediaTek reference designs.

Singapore Latest Country Pushing National QR Code Specification

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Singapore is the latest country developing a national specification for QR code-based payments, seeking to reduce fragmentation of various QR code-based schemes.

Another Wearables Maker Enters ‘Pays’ Market with NFC-Enabled Device

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – U.S.-based device maker Garmin is the latest company to introduce an NFC-based mobile payments service in a smartwatch, today unveiling its “Garmin Pay” service for its forthcoming vívoactive 3 watch.

Struggling Fitness Band Maker Fitbit Announces Plans for NFC Payments Service with New Smartwatch

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Struggling U.S.-based fitness band maker Fitbit announced today it will introduce an NFC-based payments service, “Fitbit Pay,” after it launches its first-ever smartwatch, the Ionic, promising to enable major issuers in more than 10 markets globally to offer contactless payments supporting the Visa, Mastercard and American Express brands.

Visa Ready Program May Not be Quite Ready for Tokenization Partners

Sep 15 2017

NFC TIMES Exclusive – The Visa Ready program, Visa’s effort to get new digital payments services to the market sooner by giving vendors a fast-track route for their products and technologies to be certified, may not be quite ready–at least as far as Visa’s tokenization partner program is concerned

NFC Transit Ticketing Rolled Out–Likely with HCE–on Beijing Subway System Following Large Pilot

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The Beijing Subway and Beijing’s public transport payments company Yikatong Monday launched what appears to be an HCE-enabled mobile payments system on the entire metro system after piloting the service earlier this summer on one line.

Wal-Mart Starts to Expand ‘Scan & Go’ App; Experience Does Not Seek to Mimic Amazon Go Concept

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Wal-Mart Stores has introduced a “Scan & Go” mobile-shopping and payments app for a limited number of its regular stores in five U.S. states, and said it plans to roll out the service more widely. It follows the launch last year of a very similar app for its warehouse store chain, Sam’s Club, as NFC Times has reported.

Alipay to Expand Acceptance of Mobile Wallet in Russia

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Alipay is expanding acceptance in another overseas market, Russia, seeking to capture business from Chinese tourists who travel to the country.

Parties Could Settle Lawsuits Stemming from Dispute over Apple Value-Added Services Software

NFC TIMES Exclusive –  Software that enables consumers to tap to pay and earn or redeem rewards and other value-added services with Apple Pay is at the center of a legal dispute between Israel-based NFC and contactless reader vendor On Track Innovations and USA Technologies, a provider of payment technology for vending machines and other self-service retail locations.

Apple Discloses Plans for Four More Apple Pay Markets; Confirms Most Transactions Outside of U.S.

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Apple Tuesday disclosed plans to launch its mobile payments service in four more small markets, including three countries in the Nordics, with the tech giant seeing higher usage of Apple Pay outside of the U.S., where NFC-enabled POS terminals are still not widely available.

Major Networks Seek to Capture–and Protect–Transactions by Introducing Global QR Code Specifications

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Major payments networks, including Visa, Mastercard and China UnionPay, have released global specifications for QR code-based payments through their EMVCo joint venture because they see an opportunity to capture more transactions–and also a risk of losing transactions if they don’t support the technology globally.