Latest News

Provisioning Tokens to Swatch Watches in the Store: How SwatchPAY! Works

Jun 30 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Switzerland-based watchmaker Swatch plans to roll out its SwatchPAY! contactless payments service to a number of European countries and then perhaps globally, representing budding competition to Apple Pay, Fitbit Pay and Garmin Pay. But unlike these three smartwatch-enabled Pays services and others, SwatchPAY! uses low-cost analog watches as its payments devices.

Cook Discloses Apple Pay Transactions Showing That Growth Continues, Albeit Somewhat More Slowly Than Before

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Apple Tuesday reported that its digital payments service recorded more than 1.8 billion transactions globally in the tech giant’s fiscal first quarter ending in December, more than double compared with the same quarter a year earlier–though transaction growth is slowing and transactions still represent a small percentage of total card transactions.

Garmin Pay Welcomes Support from Third U.S. Network but More Competition on Horizon

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Garmin Pay added a third network to its smartwatch payments service in the U.S. this week, enabling Discover Financial Services-branded cards to be loaded onto its NFC-enabled devices, as more acceptance points for NFC payments in the U.S. come online to give consumers additional places to tap to pay.

Another Major Holdout Among Major U.S. Merchants, Target, Agrees to Accept Contactless and NFC Payments

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Acceptance of contactless and NFC payments in the U.S. has lagged behind many other developed markets for years, but that continues to change, with another major merchant–big box retailer and top 10 U.S. chain Target­–announcing Tuesday that it would soon take tap and pay.

Swatch Expands Payments Service–Provides Affordable Analog Alternative to Smartwatches

Jan 21 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Swatch, one of the world’s largest watchmakers, has expanded its contactless-payments service to its home base of Switzerland, launching the restyled SwatchPAY! service with seven card issuers Thursday. A spokeswoman told NFC Times the company plans to expand the service to other European countries this year. 

Dutch Bank ABN Amro Commercially Launches Payments Wearables with System to Provision after Sale

Jan 18 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Dutch bank ABN Amro commercially launched its contactless payments service from wearables this week, following a lengthy pilot.

More Asian Cities Open Up to Open-Loop Cards and NFC- and QR Code-Based Fare Payments

Feb 22 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Unlike transit authorities in the U.S. and Europe, transit agencies and the governments that control them in Asia often run their closed-loop fare-collection schemes as separate businesses.

In-Depth: Contactless Card Issuance to Finally Get Rolling in U.S. This Year

Jan 23 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The U.S. is finally on the brink of large-scale contactless EMV card issuance, with optimistic projections from the payment networks, and at least one of the largest U.S. issuers committed to converting its credit and debit card portfolios  to dual-interface cards by the end of 2019.

In-Depth: In-Car Payments Gears Up but Takes Time to Get Rolling

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Car manufacturers, payments networks and platform providers continue to make deals as they gear up for the much-anticipated arrival of in-car payments–which would enable motorists to buy gasoline, pay for parking and purchase food for takeout, all from their dashboards.

Golden Globes Trophies Get Provisioned Like Payments Wearables to Ensure Authenticity

NFC TIMES Exclusive – The 76th Annual Golden Globes held Sunday featured the usual share of Hollywood celebrities preening for the cameras, showing off their new designer gowns and latest nips and tucks, while holding their trophies high if they won.

Japanese Megabank Mizuho Plans to Launch New Digital Payments Service with QR Codes Soon

Mar 7 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Japanese megabank Mizuho will reportedly move forward with its planned launch of a new digital currency and payments service using QR codes in stores and for funds transfers–with plans to cut the fees merchants will pay to accept the new payments scheme, as compared with credit cards.

More QR Code Payments Services Planned for Japan, Home of Original Contactless-Mobile Rollouts

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Japan, the first market globally to adopt contactless-mobile payments, in 2004, with a technology similar to NFC, will see its two largest convenience store chains introduce their own mobile payments services this year–both using bar codes or QR codes instead of NFC.

Analysis: Commonwealth Bank’s Agreement to Support Apple Pay Could Mark Turning Point for Apple’s Bank Recruitment Efforts

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – With its capitulation last week to Apple and agreement to participate in the tech giant’s payments service, Australia’s largest financial institution, Commonwealth Bank–which had once vowed not to support Apple Pay–shows that Apple is making headway with major banks that had once resisted supporting the NFC wallet.

Major Bus Company Stagecoach Finishes Contactless Rollout as UK Moves Toward Transit Ticketing Interoperability

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The UK’s largest bus operator has announced that it has completed its rollout of open-loop payments acceptance on 7,400 buses in the country, declaring itself the “single largest contactless transit merchant in Europe outside London.”

In-Depth: Australian Transit Authority Rolls Out Open-Loop Payments After Lengthy Trial

Apr 2 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Transport for New South Wales, Australia–the transit authority that oversees trains, buses and ferries in and around Sydney–decided to roll out its open-loop payments service to all train services following an extensive trial.

Canadian Transit Authority Introduces Low-End Wearable for Closed-Loop Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – When Vancouver-area transit authority TransLink introduced open-loop fare payments last May, it was clear that the agency was not planning to phase out its closed-loop Compass Card anytime soon.

In-Depth: Swedish Hybrid Watch Brand Kronaby to Launch Payments Wearables with Innovative Provisioning System

Feb 22 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive – In one of the first implementations of its kind, Sweden-based hybrid smartwatch brand Kronaby plans to enable personalization of tokenized payment cards over the air using a Bluetooth connection to what is essentially a passive contactless chip in its watches.

Analysis: Apple Again Touts Apple Pay Growth, While Still Not Releasing Details on Transactions

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Apple again reported a tripling of transactions for its payments service, Apple Pay, during its fiscal quarter ending in September, while noting other achievements. But the growth is believed to be off of a relatively low base, and four years after launching the payments service, Apple is still not releasing detailed numbers about its transactions.

In-Depth: Chinese Payments Players Accelerate Rollouts of Transit Fare Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – While mobile payments are rolling out slowly at metro gates and aboard buses in the West, Chinese mobile payments players are accelerating deployments of their services that enable consumers to tap–or more likely scan–to ride.

Major U.S. Networks Promote Online Commerce Spec, Seeking to Keep Digital Transactions on Their Networks, but Not All Merchants are On Board

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Major U.S.-based global networks, including Visa, Mastercard and American Express–hoping to keep transactions on their networks as more commerce goes online and digital–amplified their push for the Secure Remote Commerce specification, which is being drafted by their jointly owned payments specifications group, EMVCo.

Major UK Bus Operators Complete Contactless Rollouts, With More to Come

NFC TIMES Exclusive – At least 13,000 buses in the UK outside of London now accept open-loop contactless payments, and more rollouts are underway as part of a plan by UK bus operators to roll out contactless on all 32,000 buses operating in the UK outside of the capital, NFC Times has learned.

Transport for London Proposes Extending Licensing Deal with Cubic for Open Payments Technology

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – London transit authority Transport for London is proposing to extend an agreement with U.S.-based fare collection system vendor Cubic Transportation Systems to license the authority’s technology used in its pioneering contactless open-loop payments system.

Fitbit Pay Launches in 21st Market, Though Issuer Numbers in Most Markets Remain Small

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Fitbit Pay has entered its 21st market, with the launch this week in Thailand with two of the country’s top four banks, Kasikorn Bank and Siam Commercial Bank, along with credit card issuer Krungthai Card, or KTC, supporting the digital payments service.

Denmark’s Largest Bank Pilots Own Payments Wearables, Choosing Low-Tech Option Over Apple Watch

Oct 13 2018

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Danske Bank, Denmark’s largest financial institution, is pitting its planned low-tech FastPay payments wearables against Apple Watch and some other higher-end wearables using tokenization, as it launches a large pilot starting this month in Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

Study: Apple Pay Dominates Mobile Payments Among Debit Card Users in U.S., Though Volume Remains Low

NFC Times Exclusive Insight ­– New research shows that Apple Pay continues to dominate mobile payments services for bank cards in the U.S., although transaction volume is still low.

Deals

In-Depth: NFC Wallet Use for Open-Loop Transit Grows but Still Makes Up Relatively Small Share of Contactless Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive – When New York City transit officials announced Tuesday that the 1 millionth ride paid for through their new OMNY open-loop payments service had arrived ahead of schedule, they also proudly noted that 80% of the contactless payments had come from NFC wallets, not physical bank cards. 

UK Tram Riders Take to Tapping with NFC phones to Pay for Fares, According to Early Results

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Transport for Greater Manchester, which last month launched open-loop payments on its large Metrolink tram network, said Thursday that contactless credit and debit cards and NFC wallets accounted for a combined 170,000 rides during the first four weeks of the service.

In-Depth: Five Years After Transport for London Launched Contactless Across Its Transit Network, UK Open-Loop Rollout Remains Uneven

Aug 15 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Five years ago next month, Transport for London introduced open-loop contactless payments across its transit network, including metro, trams and commuter rail, following an earlier launch on buses. The service now accounts for more than half of all pay-as-you-go journeys and has become a global showcase for the technology.

In-Depth: Australian Transit Authority Rolls Out Open-Loop Payments After Lengthy Trial

Apr 2 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Transport for New South Wales, Australia–the transit authority that oversees trains, buses and ferries in and around Sydney–decided to roll out its open-loop payments service to all train services following an extensive trial.

PayPay Gets Off to Quick Start as One of Many Digital Payments Services in Cash-Loving Japan

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – As Japan continues to fight what to date has been a losing battle against cash, an announcement by the joint venture behind QR code-based payments service PayPay offers a little bit of encouragement. 

Lax Security Blamed for Hack of 7-Eleven’s Mobile Payments Service in Japan

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Japan’s popular 7-Eleven convenience store chain reported Thursday a major hack of its QR code-based mobile-payments app, but the breach appears to be due to poorly designed security protections in the app. 

Research Firm Projects Use of NFC Mobile Wallets in U.S. to Remain Disappointing This Year

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – As Apple Pay approaches the fifth anniversary of its launch in the U.S., there is more research showing that most American consumers simply don’t see the value of tapping to pay with NFC-based payments services. 

Apple Again Promises to Push Transit Ticketing as It Seeks Broader Adoption of Apple Pay

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – While noting to financial analysts late Tuesday that Apple Pay is now approaching 1 billion transactions per month globally and is in 47 markets, perhaps Apple CEO Tim Cook’s most significant comments about Apple Pay this week was to again emphasize that Apple wants to enable users to routinely tap to pay for bus, subway and other transit rides with their iPhones and Apple Watches. 

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).

Chinese Mega Wallets Continue to Expand QR Code-based Transit Ticketing, while Major Agencies in West Stay with NFC

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight ­– China’s mega-mobile wallet providers have continued their rollouts of transit payments in China, with Tencent Holdings announcing Tuesday that two years after launching its first QR-code-based WeChat “Ride Code” service in Guangzhou, total users for its transit payments services has reached 100 million.

Features

Analysis: Apple Chips Away at Fortress Europe with Another Major Bank Planning to Join Apple Pay

By: 
Dan Balaban

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – With Switzerland’s No. 2 bank, Credit Suisse, expected to participate in Apple Pay, the U.S.-based tech giant continues to chip away at resistance among major European banks to joining its digital payments service.

U.S. Football Sees NFC-Enabled E-Tickets as way to Cut Fraud, Market to Fans

By: 
K.N. Smith

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – With the National Football League kicking off its season in a few weeks in the U.S., fans will be using NFC, QR codes and perhaps ultrasonic signals on their mobile devices, in addition to tapping contactless-enabled paper tickets, to attend football games and other events at all 31 NFL stadiums.

In-Depth: As U.S. Lags in Contactless Payments, are Issuers Ready to Roll Out Dual-Interface EMV Cards?

By: 
K.N. Smith

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Most issuers in the U.S. have so far held back from rolling out contactless or dual-interface cards, but merchant acceptance has been quietly building over the past few years, despite some large U.S. retailers balking at accepting contactless cards and NFC-enabled devices.

In-Depth: Can Contactless Cards Succeed in U.S. Where NFC Mobile Wallets Have Failed?

By: 
K.N. Smith

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Payments industry backers suggest that U.S. banks could have an incentive to begin contactless rollouts soon, but in the absence of deadlines from the major payments networks, which are rapidly approaching in other markets, there's no guarantee of rollouts in the U.S. on the horizon.

How Mobile Wallets, Payments Wearables, Tokenization Fared the Past Year, and Where They Stand Now

By: 
Dan Balaban

NFC TIMES Exclusive – As the digital payments ecosystem moves into 2018, it is dealing with many of the same unfulfilled promises, works in progress and unfinished business as in 2017.

U.S. Merchant Apps Square Off Against NFC ‘Pays’ Wallets: The Retailer Perspective

By: 
K.N. Smith

NFC TIMES Exclusive – As more U.S. merchants launch their own payments apps, some seem positioned to offer serious competition to Apple Pay and the other NFC “Pays” wallets.

Backers Look to Range of Devices for Contextual Commerce, Though Fragmentation Will Pose Challenges

By: 
K.N. Smith

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Promoters of contextual commerce are looking to a range of connected devices, including smart appliances and such home hubs as Alexa–along with a host of mobile devices–to enable consumers to pay in almost every context. But many challenges remain for what could become a “very disjointed” array of payment options, experts say.

Feature: How Do Mobile Payments Fit into an Omnichannel World?

By: 
K.N. Smith

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – As retailers and payments services providers increasingly try to connect and track consumer transactions across online and in-store channels, mobile payments must function as part of an omnichannel payments ecosystem, say industry observers.

IoT Payments Backers Say Devices Will Range from the Familiar to the Far-Fetched

By: 
K.N. Smith

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – With the buzz around the Internet of Things growing ever stronger, the payments ecosystem is determined not to be left out.

Sound-Based Payments Target Developing Economies but Face Long Road to Consumer Take-Up

By: 
K.N. Smith

NFC TIMES Exclusive – With two sound-based payments launches in India in September, the technology has drawn some interest, but although several banks in emerging countries have signed on with sound-based payments platforms, consumer take-up remains unclear, and it’s likely that the road to adoption will be at least as slow as that faced by NFC payments in developed markets.