The Mobile Wallet Showdown: What’s Your Pick?

NFC technology has gained some strength in the mobile wallet arena since Apple released Apple Pay in October 2014 in USA. AppleWatch was released in April, and it supports Apple Pay when paired with an iPhone.

Globally, not only was Apple Pay launched in the UK in July 14, 2015, it also took a step into the Chinese market on June 10 by registering as an entity in the Shanghai free-trade zone. With Alipay, Apple’s main competitor in this market, already clocking over 400 million registered users, one wonders how the race will pan out between the two.

Android Pay, a successor of Google Pay was rolled out a couple of days ago. As of today, it has been downloaded over 81k times, and currently has a 3.9 star rating. Android Pay works on smartphones running Android 4.4 KitKat or newer.

Samsung Pay was released in Korea last month, and has hit 500,000 users now. It will be released in the USA on Sep 28th. Samsung’s smartwatch, Gear S2, will support Samsung Pay in November. Samsung has also formed partnerships in the US and China.

What NFC mobile wallet are you using or will you use?

Seattle folks, join us for a discussion on Mobile Payment on September 24th http://bit.ly/1LHi8Dz

About the Author: 

Hsuan-hua Chang, a mobile technology strategist and business coach,  has over 20 years of experience in wireless technology, holding many corporate positions ranging from software engineer, technical architect to product marketing manager. She is the author of “Everyday NFC Second Edition: Near Field Communication Explained” http://amzn.to/1INl703

Read more of her posts at http://bit.ly/1DG2af1mobile wallet

Using Apple Pay the First Time

On 10/20/2014, Apple Pay, Apple’s mobile wallet,  became available on iPhone 6 and 6+. I couldn’t wait to give it a try.

To use Apple Pay, iPhone consumer needs to do two things:

  • Add a credit card / debit card into the Passbook
  • Download iOS 8.1

Apple Pay is integrated into the Passbook through iOS 8.1; there is no need to download an app. When you add your card to Passbook, a unique Device Account Number (DAN) is assigned to it. DAN is encrypted and stored in the Secure Element (SE), a dedicated chip in iPhone. DAN is used in payment process instead of your actual card number.

When you are ready to use Apple Pay:

  1. Place your finger on Touch ID

  2. Point your iPhone6 at the contactless reader

NFC (Near Field Communication) enables this contactless payment. The Device Account Number, along with a transaction-specific dynamic security code, is used to process the payment. Your actual card number is not shared by Apple with merchants or transmitted during the payment. Apple doesn’t store any of the details of the transaction. This security protects the consumer.

The steps I took to use Apple Pay were as follows:

  • Downloaded iOS 8.1 by going to Settings, General, Software Update.

  • Configured my iPhone 6 as instructed after downloading was completed.

  • Clicked on the Passbook app.

  • Clicked on the + sign on the top right corner to add my business VISA from Alaska Airlines.

  • Used camera to read my card and typed in Expiration data & security code. iPhone 6 showed “Verifying Card” a few seconds and returned “Your Issuer Doesn’t Not Yet Offer Support for This Card”.

  • Added my America Express Card successfully and saw the recent purchase history at Costco since September. That surprised me.

  • Added my personal VISA from Alaska Airlines successfully.

  • Went to Wholefoods and used Apple Pay for my purchase. Since Touch ID had trouble reading my fingerprint; the passcode screen was displayed that enabled me to enter my passcode.

  • Apparently VISA from Alaska Airlines is my default card. The purchase history at Wholefoods is accessible from the phone (see attached picture) and Bank of America also sent me notification of the purchase.

  • Removed my America Express from the Passbook and was sent a notification that read: “Your Default Card Has Been Changed to “BofA Visa Credit”. That is a minor bug since BofA Visa was my default card, wasn’t it?

In general, Apple Pay is easy to use. I think NFC will be promoted through Apple Pay’s good user experience and tapping will become a habit soon. Job well done! Apple.


ISIS Mobile Wallet / Google Wallet / iPhone Mobile Payment

Yesterday when I was checking out at the Wholefood Market, I was delightfully surprised by their new NFC-enabled reader. At the top of the screen, it said “Swipe/Tap Your Card/Phone”. According to the excited cashier, I was the first one using my phone to pay.

ISIS Mobile Wallet has been available since November 2013. Jamba Juice was chosen as the main promotion partner; a free drink for payment made with ISIS. Jamba Juice was committed to give away one million drinks. For a while, I was having Jamba Juice every day. What a treat!

James D. White, chairman, president and CEO of Jamba Inc., in a company press release, said “Facilitating 1 million transactions through the mobile wallet over the last seven months confirms that the era mobile commerce has arrived. I am proud that Jamba has been able to serve as a leader in the space”.

I appreciate their leadership for this emerging technology.

There are many discussions about Apple’s potential mobile payment and the possibility of an NFC-enabled iPhone 6. I think it might be helpful to describe two approaches to implement an NFC mobile payment. If you want more technical information, please check out the details in this Android page.

I. SIM based Secure Element (SE):

In order to be able to use ISIS mobile payment, you need to get an ISIS SIM card from your service provider. The SIM card includes a Secure Element (SE) that contains your credentials.

When an NFC Reader is tapped by an NFC device, the NFC Controller routes traffic to the SE for authentication.

This approach is very secure because it is difficult to hack the SIM card.

II. Hosted Card Emulation (HCE):

When you use Google Wallet, you don’t need a specific mobile payment SIM. Google wallet uses HCE.

The NFC card is emulated using HCE. When an NFC Reader is tapped by a device, the data is routed to the host CPU. This approach uses the credentials that are stored in a remote server for authentication.

HCE is considered to be a threat to the SIM-based SE and is adopted in various NFC secure applications.

Now the questions is “When iPhone adopts NFC, which mobile payment approach will it choose?

Source of pictures: developer.andriod.comhttps://developer.android.com/guide/topics/connectivity/nfc/hce.html

ISIS Mobile Wallet experience with an NFC enabled phone

This is a follow up blog about my exploration on the use of the ISIS Mobile Wallet. I needed to return my iPhone ISIS case to the AT&T store since it didn’t work well. I decided to continue my hands on ISIS experience and picked up an Android phone.  I chose the HTC One.

Here is what I have performed:

  1. Download the ISIS mobile app:

I downloaded the ISIS mobile app from Google Play Store and attempted to sign on to the ISIS mobile wallet. I had forgotten both my password and the answer to my security question. My ISIS account was locked after a few attempts to sign in. With such a security mechanism in place, I felt more comfortable as a mobile wallet user. I called AT&T customer support and they reset the ISIS password for me in a very efficient manner.

  1. Set up of the ISIS Mobile Wallet:

To my surprise, my ISIS wallet was empty and I was asked to add all cards into it.

This is the message I received:

“This is an important service alert from Isis.

Your Isis Mobile Wallet was transferred to a new phone. Any existing installations of your Isis Mobile Wallet will be disabled while you complete the reinstallation process on your new phone.

As part of this process, you may be required to re-activate Payment Cards by your issuers.”

OK, I get it. When I bought a new wallet, I would need to move all of my cards to my new wallet. Since this is a digital world, I expect more from my digital wallet. A better experience would have been for all the cards associated with my wallet being moved to a new phone automatically. Are these cards not associated with my ISIS wallet in the data base? Why do I have to key in all of the information again?

I was also notified that my iPhone wallet was not available. It seems that ISIS only allows one active wallet and each time the wallet needs to be re-associated with all of the cards.

  1. Get Jamba Juice:

The experience at the Jamba Juice store was good. This is the store that was having trouble receiving ISIS wallet from the iPhone case. It received ISIS from HTC One instantly. I am happy about the experience.

  1. Read NFC tag:

I used the HTC One to scan an NFC tag on my book and it didn’t ask for my permission; “do you want to accept the NFC connection?” as my Galaxy III did. Instead, it scanned the URL in the NFC tag and went to my author’s page at Amazon. It’s good to see the read/write mode working and it’s not good to see that there is no security provided. In this case, when my phone is approaching any NFC tag, it will read it and put the phone in danger of a virus attack.

Overall, it’s a better experience to use an NFC enabled phone to perform ISIS Mobile Wallet activities than using an NFC embedded iPhone case. Stay tuned for more exploration.

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