Tag Archives: NFC

New mobile payment technology hits the market


Alipay Sound Payment - Beijing SubwayAlthough this is technically not a new technology, it is one of the fist major uses of it as a phone – to – vendor payment system. Alipay implements ultrasonic wave communication to allow commutes in Beijing, China to buy tickets using their cellphone. First launched in 2011, startup Naratte’s Zoosh tech enables mobile payments over ultrasonic sound waves. The key differentiator in this technology is that most of today’s cellphones have the required capability, that is the ability to play MP3. With a minor addition on the collector or checkout side, this is one of the cheaper technologies to implement with a much wider population of capable phones.  This technology works as both payor and payee, so you can effectively use it like a “digital wallet” for phone – to – phone payments.  I would be interested to know more about how they secure this system, because even though they have a unique sound for each transaction, and a 5 minute validity, I am not sure that this necessarily protects them from “man in the middle” or “record and playback” attacks.  Along with the other technologies under exploration in the ‘late to catchup’ North American arena, such as NFC, QR Codes, Cloud Based Solutions, SMS, and various combinations of these, this ‘sounds’ like an interesting technology for the mobile payment space.

Canadian Banks bank on NFC


Royal Bank Plaza, Toronto, Canada
Royal Bank Plaza, Toronto, Canada (Photo credit: Francisco Diez)

With RBC launching its Mobile Payment app, there are now 2 horses in the race for Mobile Payment domination. RBC has partnered with Interac to launch Interac flash, which means that this offering is not Telco bound. Theoretically this offering should work for any phone that has an NFC chip, regardless of Telco, allowing consumers to conduct a debit payment from their mobile phone.

Additionally, this offering is not tied to RBC alone; it will be available to other Banks and FIs who want to sign up for this enhanced Interac service. In contrast, the CIBC offering (earlier this year) also using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, is Telco bound to Rogers, and allows consumers to back their payment with a major credit card either VISA or MasterCard. CIBC and Rogers launched BB10 and Android versions of their app last week.

Interac
Interac (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With both major bank offerings using the NFC technology for Payments, and a few of the other payment apps using QR code technology, such as Starbucks, and Western Union, it would seem to solidify the notion that the “wait to standardize” on a mobile payment technology is finally over, and the verdict is that a more “flexible” approach is required.
Mobile payment proliferation in Africa, Europe and Asia ahead of North America has chiefly been due to our waiting for a technology standard. Meanwhile the rest of the world has passed us by with a myriad of solutions, so hopefully we can learn from them for a change, and settle on the ones that work. The technology behind the mobile payments platform needs to be flexible enough to allow business owners to pick one that fits their specific needs, but not to the point when interoperability between the different technologies becomes a concern for consumers.

One of the key differences in the technology standard in North America and Europe, as compared to the third world, is that the populace in North America and Europe predominantly have bank accounts where as in the third world the users predominantly don’t. Therefore the technology standard in North America and Europe will more likely be driven via the banking system, which is why both bank offerings in Canada, the Royal Bank and Interac deal, and the CIBC and Rogers deal, are exciting.  We are already used to Interac brokering our other card based debit payments, and this deal is still open to other banks, FIs, Store Cards, etc who want to get in on the Mobile Payments bandwagon.  There is still room for potential disruptors such as Apple using their iTunes account, or Paypal with Paypal Here, to come in and take the glory.  The excitement is yet to begin!

Walmart Mobile


Walmart Mobile Chief Gibu ThomasWal-Mart enters the fray with a Mobile App – I am assuming that once NFC is more prevalent, it will serve to make the check out process even easier. The possibilities coming off this for Big Box and department store apps are endless, taking advantage of the capabilities of to do things like location-based advertizing, competitive comparisons, up-sell, wish-list, shopping list, etc. Canadian Tire, Target, Home Depot, Lowes, and Rona should all be paying attention – this is the sort of convenience that will draw more traffic to your stores. Wal-Mart’s Mobile Chief, Gibu Thomas, is quoted saying “Two weeks after Wal-Mart launched “in-store mode” with its app, roughly 60 percent of its shoppers opted to use it. Moreover, about 12 percent of Wal-Mart’s sales that come through its app are coming from customers who are inside a store and using “in-store mode.” Wired’s Marcus Wohlsen postulates that Wal-Mart is doing this to target Amazon. This is an interesting view-point, as this move seems to bridge both worlds with the convenience of shopping online, and competitive pricing, yet still retaining the tactile sense of being able to see, feel and try on the items before purchase, followed by the instant gratification of not having to pay shipping and wait for delivery.

Related Articles

Gigaom

Walmart(s WMT) is taking the idea of self-checkout to another, more mobile level. The retailer is bringing the “Scan & Go” feature of its Walmart iOS app to 200 stores in the U.S., according to a Reuters report Wednesday. The feature has been in use in some stores already, but at only about 70 near Walmart’s Arkansas headquarters and in Atlanta.

Scan & Go is only available on the iPhone,(s AAPL) though Walmart says an Android(s GOOG) version is “coming soon.”

Shoppers that have the Walmart app can select “in-store mode” and then scan each item’s barcode as they pick up items throughout the store. Users who have also created shopping lists or budgets within the app will see items scanned “checked off” on their lists. Once finished, they need only go to a self-checkout terminal, scan a barcode on the screen — which reads the items they have in…

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OZ Grocery Store rolls out NFC

The prolific success of NFC and mobile payments has been the Micro payments segment where it is ok to accept a lower level of assurance because the perceived risk is small – a micro payment. The same approach must be used to get NFC adoption in N.A too, people will trust it for the micro payments, trust will build and the proliferation into the North American market will begin.