VISA Launches Mobile Payment Pilot

VISA International, in collaboration with Maybank, Maxis Communications
Berhad (Maxis) and Nokia, has launched the world’s first “Mobile VISA
Wave Payment Pilot” in Malaysia. “Mobile VISA Wave Payment” combines Near Field Communications with “VISA Wave Contactless Card” technologies, building on the existing “VISA Wave” contactless card platform. “Mobile VISA Wave Payment” can be made across all merchants in Malaysia that have “VISA Wave”-supported terminals. No change to the current acceptance infrastructure is required. Cardholders selected for the pilot will be issued a phone pre-programmed with their regular Maybankard “VISA Wave” card information. The are currently 2,500 outlets in Malaysia that accept “VISA Wave” and more than 160,000 cards have issued.

Nokia, Philips, Vodafone and RMV Complete NFC Trial

Nokia, Royal Philips Electronics, Vodafone and the
Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund have announced the conclusion of a
successful ten-month field trial of “Near Field
Communication” and that the technology will now be deployed in a
commercial environment. “Nokia 3220” mobile phones can
now be used as electronic bus tickets and act as loyalty cards for
discounts at local retail outlets and attractions. Local Vodafone shops
will offer the NFC-enabled “Nokia 3220” handsets immediately for sale,
allowing passengers to hold their mobile phones close to the reading
device to enter and disembark from a city bus in Hanau. At the end of
the month, the customers will receive an invoice from the local public
transport operator outlining all trips taken and the costs. In addition
to public transport ticketing, a newly introduced local leisure card —
the “RMV-ErlebnisCard Hanau” loyalty card — will be incorporated into
the NFC-enabled phones.

Near Field Communications Forum Expands

Massachusetts-based The NFC Forum reports it has expanded its member roster to include more than 70 organizations worldwide. The NFC Forum is a non-profit industry association dedicated to advancing the use of near field communication (NFC) technology by developing specifications, ensuring interoperability among devices and services and educating the market about NFC technology. NFC is short-range, standards-based wireless connectivity technology that enables simple and safe two-way interactions among electronic devices, allowing consumers to perform contactless transactions, access digital content and connect devices.

Payment Systems in Latin America Poised for Growth

A new report issued by London-based Economist Intelligence Unit
says the development of Latin American electronic payments systems has
been hampered by polarized income distribution, low penetration of the
banking system, low computer usage and the continuing prominence of
cash economies. However, the study found that collaboration between
governments and the financial services industry has led to
greater penetration of electronic payment products in Argentina, Brazil,
Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela. EIU notes that over the past
several years, all except Venezuela have implemented “Real Time Gross
Settlement” systems and the use of payment cards and direct transfers
has increased steadily. Examples of other progress: Brazilian officials
are addressing the interoperability of the country’s 29 ATM networks;
Chile is rapidly expanding its smart-card infrastructure; and Mexico has
launched a three-year private-public initiative to greatly expand the
number of chip-enabled point of sale terminals. The report is available
free of charge from the Economist Intelligence Unit which is sponsored
by VISA International.

FanBox and Transax Integrate Platforms

FanBox and Transax Technologies have announced the full integration of
“MS2”, FanBox’s technological platform. The “MS2” platform provides real
time transaction management and integrated marketing tools. In addition,
an electronic currency exchange solution is nested in the gift card
management portion, providing computer-assisted management in any retail
chain environment. The new “all-in-one” solution enables the merchant
to use a single banking terminal for credit cards, debit cards, loyalty
cards and gift cards. The new product is offered in real time through a
telephone or high-speed Internet connection. Integration directly into
cash register systems and ecommerce Web site is also available. FanBox
provides management of loyalty programs, gift cards and communities of
interest. Transax Technologies sells and services ATMs and POS terminals.

Major Near Field Technology Pilot Launches

The world’s first large scale trial of Royal Philips’ “Near Field Communication” technology is underway in the city of Caen in Normandy, France. According to yesterday’s issue of CardFlash International, a group of 200 Caen residents will use “Samsung D500” mobile phones with an embedded Philips “NFC” chip as a means of secure payment in selected retail stores, parking facilities and famous tourist sites around town in a six-month trial. Philips is working with France Telecom R&D, Orange, Samsung and retailers Groupe LaSer and Vinci Park during the trial. “NFC” was jointly developed by Philips and Sony and is a combination of contactless identification and interconnection technologies that enables wireless short-range communication between mobile devices, consumer electronics, PCs and smart objects.

Caen Residents to Test Mobile NFC Payments

The city of Caen in Normandy, France is the setting for a test trial of
Royal Philips “Near Field Communication” technology. A group of 200
Caen residents will use “Samsung D500” mobile phones with an embedded
Philips NFC chip as a means of secure payment in selected retail stores,
parking facilities and famous tourist sites around town in a six-month
trial. Philips will work closely with France Telecom R&D, network
operator Orange, handset manufacturer Samsung and retailers
Groupe LaSer and Vinci Park during the trial. The Caen NFC trial is the
world’s first large scale trial of this emerging technology and will
enable direct feedback to be gathered from mobile operators, retailers
and consumers. NFC was jointly developed by Philips and Sony and is a
combination of contactless identification and interconnection
technologies that enables wireless short-range communication between
mobile devices, consumer electronics, PCs and smart objects. NFC is compatible with Sony’s “FeliCa” card and the broadly established
contactless smart card infrastructure based on “ISO 14443 A,” which is used in Philips’ “MIFARE” technology.

JCB Joins the Near Field Communication Forum

The Near Field Communication Forum has added several new members including JCB, 3ALogics, CETECOM Spain, Gemplus, Giesecke & Devrient, Innovision Research & Technology, LG Electronics, Logitech, MeT, Mobey Forum, SKIDATA AG and SmartSystem Technologies. MasterCard International, Matsushita, Microsoft, Motorola, NEC, Samsung, Texas Instruments and Visa International have become Sponsor Members, receiving seats on the Forum’s Board of Directors. The first NFC Forum Members Meeting will take place in New York City, March 17-18. The NFC Forum is a global standards development and advocacy group dedicated to advancing near field communication technology, educating the public about its benefits and furthering its implementation worldwide.

Three Companies Team for Loyalty NFC

Royal Philips Electronics has teamed with content and
service providers SMART System Technologies and 3united to deliver
mobile entertainment applications as well as loyalty and reward programs via Near Field Communication technology. NFC, developed by Philips and
Sony, securely links wireless connectivity with contactless smart card
technology, making it simple for consumers to access entertainment, information and payment services through their mobile phones. SST is a provider of merchant-centric point-of-purchase loyalty and coalition marketing applications and services. Based in Austria, 3united is one of Europe’s market leaders in premium short message services, m-commerce and mobile content solutions. 3united already provides NFC interfaces for more than 500 premium services for national and international content providers, media enterprises and mobile network operators. SST has developed customized software for NFC phones and has integrated this with its hosted “PowerPay” solution.

NFC-Enabled Mobile Payment Product Launched

Nokia introduced a new product for secure mobile contactless payments and ticketing. The world’s first “Near Field Communications” product for payment and ticketing will be an enhanced version of the already announced “Nokia NFC” shell for “Nokia 3220” phone.
With the “Nokia NFC” shell for payment and ticketing, the consumer can
conduct local transactions with a mobile phone, simply by touching a
point of sales device or ticket gate. Consumer’s payment credentials, such as debit and credit cards, and transport tickets are securely stored in the integrated smart card chip of the “Nokia NFC” shell. The “Nokia NFC” shell for payment and ticketing is compliant and interoperable with contactless smart card infrastructure. In the first live NFC-based public transport ticketing showcase of its kind, Nokia 3220 mobile phones will be tested within the local bus network in
the city of Hanau, near Frankfurt, Germany.

STMicroelectronics Makes Organizational Changes

STMicroelectronics announced that, effective January 1st, it will realign its product groups to increase market focus and realize the full potential of its products, technologies, and sales and marketing channels. The Company will combine the Telecom Group of TPA with the Consumer Group of the present CMG (Consumer and Microcontroller Groups) to create a new product Sector, to be headed by Philippe Geyres, Corporate Vice President. The new entity formed by the combination of these converging product Groups will account for over one third of ST’s annualized sales, and will take the name of Telecom and Consumer Sector. The Company also announced that Aldo Romano, Corporate Vice President, Telecommunications, Peripherals, & Automotive Groups and Salvatore Castorina, Corporate Vice President, Discretes & Standard Circuits Group (DSG) are retiring. Also, Joel Monnier, Corporate Vice President, R&D will resign early next year.

Philips and ViVOtech Advance NFC Payments

Royal Philips Electronics and ViVOtech have joined hands to advance “Near Field Communication” technology-based contactless payment and promotion solutions in physical merchant environments for the first time. The alliance will marry the “ViVOpay 3000” reader and an “NFC”-enabled mobile phone. Philips’ “NFC” is a combination of contactless identification and interconnection technologies that enables convenient short-range RF communication between personal electronic devices. ViVOtech provides software technology and reader infrastructure that allows consumers to make contactless payments with an NFC-enabled mobile phone at existing POS systems. NFC can also enable ViVOtech’s “ViVOwallet” software, which includes the ability to pay and to use loyalty cards, gift cards, SMS/MMS promotions, and e-coupons.