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

NFC Mobile Payment Trend

After ApplePay’s deployment in October 2015, NFC mobile payment adoption is taking off in the USA. I am curious about how people perceive this technology (NFC) and its application (ApplePay & mobile payment). Therefore I did a Google Trends comparison between Mobile Payment, NFC and ApplePay today. To my surprise, the trend indicates there has been an increase in people searching NFC comparing to searching “mobile payment” and “ApplePay” (see attachment below).

Asia seems to be the continent that is more into the technology. The interested regions are as follows:

Google Wallet, the first NFC mobile payment app, was released in 2012. There is no surprised that such an innovation came from a company that embraces creativity. Shortly after, to Google’s surprise, the telecoms, who were developing their own NFC-based mobile payment app, blocked Google Wallet. This challenge forced Google to look into an alternative way to implement NFC mobile payment. Thus, the HCE (Host Card Emulation) approach was created in order to bypass telecom’s control on Secure Element.

Softcard (formally, ISIS), a joint venture between AT&T, Verizon and TMobile started a trial in late 2013 and was launched in 2014. To promote and educate people on the NFC mobile payment technology, one million complimentary Jamba Juices were given away to Softcard users. Despite these efforts, the adoption rate of Softcard was not good enough to sustain the business; especially facing competition with ApplePay and its trademark simple user experience.

Last month, Softcard was bought by Google. I wonder what the agreement is between Google and telecoms? Will this be another walled garden business model? Is the NFC mobile payment market a war between Apple and Google now?

It’s interesting to watch the evolution of these NFC applications; especially in the mobile payment market. Various challenges continue to stimulate more innovations. After all, a vision has to be either supported by a market demand or inspiring enough to create a new market entirely.

About the Author:

Hsuan-hua Chang 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”

How to Use Your Mobile Wallet

Last week, two of my friends asked me “What is Mobile Wallet?”. I realized that I need to put aside my excitement over NFC-enabled iPhone6 and just explain the basics in plain English.

A mobile wallet enables you to use your mobile phone for making payments while shopping. Your credit card information is entered and saved in your mobile phone. To simplify the story, I will only focus on two NFC Mobile Wallets: Softcard and Apple Pay.

A mobile wallet is composed of a few components: a mobile application (app), payment options (credit cards), an authentication method for user identification, and an option for wireless transmission.

  • Mobile app: You can download Softcard (formally ISIS Mobile Wallet) from the Google Play Store if you have an NFC-enabled Android phone. If you have an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 plus or iWatch, you can download Apple Pay app from the Apple Store on October 20th, 2014.
  • Payment options: The mobile app allows you add credit card information into a mobile wallet.
  • Authentication: Softcard requires you to enter a 4-digit pin upon payment. Apple Pay uses Touch ID, a finger print identity sensor.
  • Wireless Transmission: NFC (Near Field Communication) is used for both Softcard and Apple Pay. Any NFC-enabled phones such as most of the Android phones and the iPhone 6, can tap an NFC-enabled reader to activate wireless communication between a mobile phone and a cash register that is NFC-enabled.

To Use Softcard (formally ISIS) Mobile Wallet on an Android Phone

  1. Make sure that the NFC functionality is enabled on the device.
  2. Ensure your device is equipped with the required Enhanced NFC SIM card with Secure Element.
  3. Download Softcard Mobile Wallet app from Google Play Store.
  4. Set up an access PIN.
  5. Add the method of payment.
  6. Use the NFC device to pay your bill at stores that have NFC readers.
  • Open the Softcard Mobile Wallet app and enter your PIN.
  • Select a payment card to use.
  • Hold the back of your phone over the contactless symbol on the terminal at checkout.

To Use Apple Pay Mobile Wallet on an iPhone6

  1. If you don’t have Passbook setup, add the credit or debit card from your iTunes account to Passbook by simply entering the card security code.
  2. Add a new card, use your iSight camera to instantly capture your card information or simply type it in manually.
  3. The first card you add automatically becomes your default card.
  4. Download iOS 8.1
  5. Use iPhone to pay your bill at stores that have NFC readers

applepay1

With NFC mobile wallet, you don’t need to carry your credit cards around anymore. It is a safer approach since every transaction has a unique transaction ID and it’s authenticated. Apple Pay seems providing a simpler user experience based on Apple’s website. “One touch to pay with Touch ID. Now paying in stores happens in one natural motion — there’s no need to open an app or even wake your display thanks to the innovative Near Field Communication antenna in iPhone 6. To pay, just hold your iPhone near the contactless reader with your finger on Touch ID. You don’t even have to look at the screen to know your payment information was successfully sent. A subtle vibration and beep lets you know.”

Another note about iPhone6 and iPhone6+, they are really more of an NFC-enabled mobile payment device rather than an NFC-enabled device. All other NFC functionalities besides Apple Pay, have been disabled by Apple.

See more details in my newly released book “Everyday NFC Second Edition”. http://amzn.to/O76fQY

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NFC Enabled Apple Pay

September 9th was an exciting day for NFC enthusiasts and evangelists. Apple announced that iPhone6 would offer Apple Pay, a mobile payment functionality based on NFC (Near Field Communication). The NFC community praised the announcement with relief, “It’s about time.”

The NFC community had hoped that Apple would have adopted NFC for iPhone 5s/5c in 2013. Apple endorsed BLE(Bluetooth Low Energy) instead while continuing to obtain NFC patents. Without Apple’s adoption, NFC has been moving slowly due to the lack of consumer technology awareness. Apple has influenced consumer behavior with an appealing experience and an innovative implementation.  I expect that Apple Pay would help consumers to become familiar with NFC.

Before the announcement, on September 8th, the NFC community had the following questions:

  • Will iPhone6 be NFC-enabled? If it is, what NFC mode will be offered for public use?
  • What type of mobile payment model will be deployed?
  • Will an app development framework be offered?
  • What will be the user experience?

Now, a day after the excitement, the NFC community has more questions:

  • Is iPhone6 capable of reading NFC tags?
  • Can the Softcard (formally ISIS) mobile wallet be used with the iPhone6? What’s the impact to the Softcard?
  • Will the NFC feature be configured on/off in the Setting? What is the default setting?
  • What is the Apple Pay infrastructure?

What are other questions/thoughts in you mind?

ONETOUCHSource: Apple.com