Tuesday, April 12, 2011

ViVOTech CEO says NFC is Under-Hyped and Ready to Over-Deliver

NFC: Under-hyped, ready to over-deliver

April 11, 2011 | Mick Mullagh for VentureBeat

Near-field communications, or NFC for short, is on the cusp of making e-commerce look like chump change, and much more quickly than most people think. The naysayers have arrived, and that’s a good thing: it means this disruptive technology is about to take down their business.
Most of the hype surrounding NFC is about payments – the ability to wave your phone at a point of sale terminal instead of whipping out a credit card or cash to buy that grande vanilla latte.
Speculation has it that if Apple or Google can make NFC chips in phones a mainstream payment option, they could upend the payments industry and put themselves smack in the middle of billions of dollars of transactions. Apple, pundits opine, could tie the mobile wallets to people’s iTunes accounts, and Google could tie it to Google Checkout.
If that’s all there is to it, then the naysayers are absolutely on the money. But NFC payments are the least of the mobile commerce equation.
(Editors note: this discussion about mobile payments and commerce is one of the five themes we’ll debating at the VentureBeat Mobile Summit, on April 25-26. For payments, we’ll have the top executives in the sector around the table, including representatives from Verizon, AT&T, Sybase, Zong, Boku, Visa, Square and disruptive credit card company Dynamics Inc. If you think you should be part of the discussion, you can apply here. Also, see our past articles about why NFC is overhyped, or why NFC mattersMore on the series here.)
What will turn NFC from promise to reality is real-time, in-store personal marketing, merchandising and loyalty. Mobile wallets were never envisioned to deal with just debit and credit accounts. They’ll also hold your gift cards, coupons, admission tickets, transit tickets, and all of your loyalty cards for offers and promotions.
That’s how the merchants will make money and why mobile retail applications are beginning to proliferate today. And it’s where consumers will realize real value and convenience.
All of the other mCommerce ecosystem components – phones with NFC chips, contactless point-of-sale terminals at every retail register, back-end software that connects the banks, card issuers, and merchants – are simply a means to this end.
Because if merchants can’t make money and grow their business, and consumers don’t experience the technology as a better, faster, cheaper way to shop, then NFC will simply never happen.
The good news is that merchants get it.
NFC phones let them deliver high-value, personalized offers when you’re in their stores – offers that give you what you want, when you want it, based on your search and buying patterns. First-mover merchants are looking to grab a competitive edge and gain new ways to influence your buying behavior using time-limited sales and product-specific information from shelf tags. And best of all, from their perspective, NFC allows them to gather unprecedented amounts of new data on your likes and dislikes for future promotions and offers, such as opt-in deals you will value.
The naysayers would have you believe that rival mobile technologies like SMS or barcodes are good enough, and that they can do everything that NFC promises. But in the end, NFC will win the in-store battle for five simple reasons: it’s way faster and easier to use, it’s infinitely more secure, it has a much lower cost to scale at the point of sale, and it’s fully interactive near, in-store and at the point of sale.
NFC mCommerce is going to be huge. It will much bigger and grow much faster than ecommerce ever did.
That’s a bold statement, but here’s why: your smart phone is in some ways a much more powerful commerce device than your computer. It knows who you are. It knows when you are near or in your favorite stores. It can quickly access your search and purchase history. And best of all, it delivers instant gratification.
There are already five times more mobile phones than PCs in the world. And, in-store sales currently out number ecommerce by 19 to 1. Those are two things that are guaranteed not to change anytime soon.
By Christmas there will be about 35 million NFC-equipped mobile phones in the hands of consumers, and the experts predict that will grow to 1.5 billion phones worldwide in four short years.
Global security mandates for transaction processing are right now forcing upgrades to millions of retail point of sale systems around the world that cost a few hundred dollars each. As a result, consortiums are coalescing and rumored to be subsidizing NFC readers because big returns are so close they can taste them.
For the first time ever, instead of competing the three largest U.S. mobile operators — AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon — are collaborating to build a nationwide mobile 
commerce network utilizing NFC-equipped phones. Meanwhile, banks and tier-1 merchants are issuing NFC software and systems RFPs.
It’s no secret that web players like Google, Amazon, Yahoo!, Facebook, Microsoft, AOL, and Apple which collectively already own most on-line ad spending and shopping, want and need a way to do the same in the physical world. NFC is just the ticket, because it’s the proverbial bridge that seamlessly connects the virtual and brick-and-mortar markets.
So, get ready, world. Stop thinking mobile payments when you hear NFC, because payments are just the tip of the iceberg. And start thinking about a totally new medium – a brand new mobile advertising and shopping platform for mobile devices. Then you’ll understand why NFC mobile commerce is here and happening. Naysayers be damned!
Michael (Mick) Mullagh is CEO of ViVOtech, the NFC software and systems company based in Silicon Valley. He submitted this story to VentureBeat as part of a series leading up to our Mobile Summit later this month.
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NXP and UPM Team to Provide Easy Access to NFC Tags

April 12, 2011

NXP and UPM extend collaboration to provide easy access to NFC tags

Mobile applications to benefit from increased availability

NXP Semiconductors N.V. (Nasdaq: NXPI) and UPM RFID, a leading manufacturer and designer of passive HF and UHF radio frequency identification tags and inlays, today announced collaboration to provide easier access to near field communication (NFC) tags for use in a variety of mobile applications. As part of this agreement, NXP will provide the NFC ICs and UPM RFID will design and manufacture the NFC tags and inlays.

NFC tags are an essential component in any NFC-based system, typically containing information that can be accessed by an NFC enabled device. Data can be easily written to and stored in these tags, which are used in a variety of applications such as peer-to-peer data exchange (e.g. business cards), location-based advertisements, loyalty programs and discount coupons.

UPM RFID has several NFC tag products based on NXP technology, including UPM BullsEye™, UPM RaceTrack™ and UPM MiniTrack™. UPM RFID also provides smaller form factor products – UPM Circus™ and UPM MiniBlock™ – for use in new NFC application areas, such as loyalty key-chains and item-embedded smart tags. NFC tags are now available for purchase from UPM RFID partners and online stores worldwide.

NFC is a technology co-invented by NXP. NXP co-founded the NFC Forum to lead collaboration with all industry stakeholders and help standardize the technology. Ranked as the No.1 contactless IC vendor by ABI Research for three years running, NXP is the global leader in NFC solutions, field-proven in over 150 NFC trials and landmark commercial deployments worldwide. NXP offers both the chipsets for NFC cell phones and the ICs for NFC tags.

“In order to successfully develop the NFC ecosystem, we need to ensure that access to NFC tags is hassle free. We’re therefore pleased to be working closely with UPM RFID to deliver on this promise to the market,” said Chris Feige, General Manager, Tagging and Authentication Business, NXP Semiconductors. “Their expertise in high-volume tag production combined with our focus on NFC tag technology will truly enable the development of innovative and creative implementations of near field communication.”

“UPM RFID is already a well-established NFC tag manufacturer and focused on exploring new technologies and applications for tags and inlays. Our extended collaboration with NXP to roll out high-volume NFC tags is clearly in line with this strategy,” says Marcus Vaenerberg, Senior Vice President, UPM RFID. “To better support growing demand for easy access NFC tags, we’re also creating a global network of partners who provide web-based online printing services for customized NFC tags. Ordering NFC tags will soon be as easy as ordering any other office supplies via the web.”


UPM RFID, part of UPM’s Engineered Materials business group, is the world’s number one producer of HF and UHF radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and inlays. UPM RFID has a global service network consisting of factories in China and in the United States and a broad network of sales offices worldwide. The UPM Group employs around 22,000 people and it has production facilities in 15 countries. In 2010, UPM's sales amounted to EUR 8,9 billion. UPM's shares are listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange. Further information is available at www.upmrfid.com.

About NXP Semiconductors

NXP Semiconductors N.V. (Nasdaq: NXPI) provides High Performance Mixed Signal and Standard Product solutions that leverage its leading RF, Analog, Power Management, Interface, Security and Digital Processing expertise. These innovations are used in a wide range of automotive, identification, wireless infrastructure, lighting, industrial, mobile, consumer and computing applications. A global semiconductor company with operations in more than 30 countries, NXP posted revenue of $4.4 billion in 2010. For more information visit www.nxp.com.

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Smartag Supplies NFC Smart Poster Tags for Google Places Service

Tuesday, 12 April 2011 08:37
Atlanta, GA and Santa Ana, CA – April 12, 2011 – ACiG Technology, a supplier and distributor of RFID products and a business unit of Identive Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: INVE, Frankfurt: INV) announced that is has been selected as the exclusive supplier of near field communication (NFC) RFID stickers for the roll out of Google’s marketing campaign for Google Places in Austin, Texas. The NFC stickers are manufactured by ACiG’s sister company, Smartag.

Google is currently distributing the 80x50mm stickers to local business owners throughout Austin to help them promote their products and services and encourage people to rate and review the businesses on Google’s new local recommendation engine. The smart stickers are utilized to convert conventional advertising posters to connected smart posters. Consumers with NFC-enabled mobile phones who have downloaded the Google Places app can simply touch their devices to the stickers to access all kinds of relevant information about a local business from across the web – such as its address, phone number, hours of operation, payment types, helpful reviews and more. Consumers can rate or review the business right from the webpage on the mobile device, and then receive more personalized local recommendations in their search results based on their opinions and those of their friends.

Bernardo Hernandez, senior director of consumer marketing for Google said, “NFC-enabled stickers are an integral part of our outreach efforts to local Austin businesses as they demonstrate the effectiveness of Internet spot marketing and help consumers quickly discover more information about a business. About 20 percent of all searches on Google are for local information, and NFC technology delivered by Smartag smart stickers enables really interesting ways to connect Austin locals and visitors with the businesses in the area.”

“As a manufacturer and distributor of core RFID technology, we see many market trends develop from their earliest stages,” said Roger Hornstra, President U.S., ACiG Technology. ”Smart posters are expected to be a tremendous growth area in B to C marketing and we are excited to work with Google as it pioneers this exciting application of NFC technology.”

About ACiG Technology:
ACiG Technology, a business unit of Identive Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: INVE, Frankfurt: INV), is a supplier and distributor of RFID inlays, cards, transponders, reader components and electronic components for the RFID and smart card industries. ACIG’s leading-edge technology and extensive knowledge of the RFID Identification markets enable the company to help customers create the right products for their secure identification applications. For additional information, visit www.acig-tech.com.

About Smartag
Smartag, a business unit of Identive Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: INVE, Frankfurt: INV), specializes in high performance design and production of high frequency (HF) and ultra high frequency (UHF) RFID inlays and inlay-based conversions including labels, tags and tickets. Smartag’s products are used in mass transit, leisure, event and industrial applications and to enable secure NFC-based payments using mobile devices. Smartag’s ability to utilize multiple antenna technologies and designs provides significant versatility in customizing solutions for different applications. For additional information visit: www.smartag.com.sg

Identive Group, Inc. is a leading provider of products, services and solutions for the security, identification and RFID industries. For more information, please visit www.identive-group.com.

ACiG Technology, Roger Hornstra, rh@acig-tech.com, 404-531-9604
Identive Group, Inc., Darby Dye, ddye@identive-group.com, 949-553-4251
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Debit Card Scams Becoming More Frequent/Agressive

Debit-card scams: more frequent, more aggressive
(from the Christian Science Monitor at 4-12-2011)
The call might start something like this: Im Mike from Visa. Did you make a purchase for a laptop in Cambridge, Mass., for $987 with your Bank of America debit card? No. What happened? The consumer is now concerned. I just want to let you know that somebody has stolen your card information. Feel free to call the 800 number on the back of your card. Mike confirms the consumers name, address, and telephone number. He offers to take care of the situation by canceling the card and removing all the fraudulent charges. All he needs is the three-digit security number on the back of the card in order to reactivate the account after the fake charges are removed. That’s the key to the latest debit-card scam – the security code...read more»

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First Data Highlights Global Solution Set Innovation in its Quarterly Release

12 APRIL 2011

Merchant Customers Benefit from Steady Stream of New Product Offerings and Enhancements
ATLANTA, April 12, 2011 – In an effort to keep its customers up to date on the company’s ongoing product innovation, First Data Corporation, a global leader in electronic commerce and payment processing, today shared highlights from its Q1 2011 Product Release. Growing payments globally, First Data’s product solution set has been expanded with additions and enhancements to its eCommerce Solutions, Mobile Commerce Solutions and proprietary point-of-sale terminal line.
ECommerce Solutions
Several enhancements to First Data’s eCommerce product suite were implemented this quarter:
  • Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) – the number of supported currencies by the solutions has been expanded from 36 to 72 key currencies covering over 120 countries
  • Fraud FlexDetectSM – the next evolution of First Data's eCommerce fraud detection and prevention solution was introduced offering online merchants fully integrated risk detection within the authorization flow
  • Payment Software – the latest release of Payment Software (formerly ICVerify) has been certified to meet the current PA-DSS requirements and other compliance initiatives
  • Global ePricing (GeP) – an enhanced exchange rate reporting capability for multicurrency transactions was released to provide merchants with greater transparency to easily understand the true cost of transactions
Mobile Commerce Solutions
Announced in March, First Data mVoucher enables merchants to deliver offers to consumers through e-mail or their mobile device. Sometimes referred to as coupons, mVouchers store a prepaid value funded by the merchant or consumer product goods company. Mobile vouchers can be delivered as coupons, loyalty rewards, promotional rewards, contest rewards or general marketing initiatives.
Proprietary Terminal Line
First Data has released five new point-of-sale terminals featuring a new, sleeker design and faster processing speed than previous models:
  • First Data FD50Ti for budget-conscious merchants
  • First Data FD100Ti for petroleum vendors and convenience stores that accept fleet cards
  • First Data FD200Ti for retailers that accept numerous checks, as well as for petroleum vendors and convenience stores that accept fleet cards
  • First Data FD300Ti for locations that house multiple businesses
  • First Data FD400Ti for on-the-go merchants that need wireless capabilities has been enhanced with the GPRS network
“As a global leader in payment processing, we are continually growing our product solution set to meet the needs of our diverse client base and their customers around the world. This quarterly release of our latest innovation in product development illustrates our ongoing commitment to quickly responding to the changing payments landscape,” said Mark Herrington, senior vice president of Global Product Management and Innovation, First Data.
Around the world, every second of every day, First Data makes payment transactions secure, fast and easy for merchants, financial institutions and their customers. First Data leverages its vast product portfolio and expertise to drive customer revenue and profitability. Whether the choice of payment is by debit or credit card, gift card, check or mobile phone, online or at the checkout counter, First Data takes every opportunity to go beyond the transaction.
Media Contact
Elizabeth Grice, First Data

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Bango Mobile Payment Embraces Canada to Reach 200 Million North Americans

Global carrier billing to leverage smartphone take-off
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bango Inc. announced that it has further expanded its mobile payment platform by adding carrier billing in Canada. This brings the total number of subscribers it reaches through carrier billing in North America to over 200 million. Bango additionally provides mobile credit card and PayPal for payments that cannot be charged to the carrier bill.
“Driven by the greater flexibility and reliability of direct carrier charging, the growth opportunity for m-commerce is enormous as usage of internet services migrates on mass from PCs to billions of mobile devices.”
Bango mobile payment technology is designed to enable the migration of e-commerce services from desktop PCs to the mobile phone and tablets. Developers and publishers using the Bango platform to reach their mobile customers benefit from one-click payment to the carrier phone bill.
App store providers and content publishers connect their services once to the Bango platform and reach over 600 million paying mobile users worldwide, in 120 countries. Mobile payments are benefiting from the take-off in smartphone usage, led initially by the iPhone. However Apple requires all payments to be made through iTunes. But with smartphones becoming so popular, merchants are able to use the Bango platform to enable mobile payment for products sold on BlackBerry, Android, Nokia and other platforms.
"Outside Apple’s walled garden, direct carrier billing for apps and mobile web content has replaced premium SMS as the payment standard for mobile commerce", said Anil Malhotra, SVP Marketing at Bango. "Driven by the greater flexibility and reliability of direct carrier charging, the growth opportunity for m-commerce is enormous as usage of internet services migrates on mass from PCs to billions of mobile devices."
Bango allows users to place charges on their phone bills for purchases made directly from the mobile device, including tablets. Bango's mobile device billing is automatically authenticated through its partnerships with mobile carriers. This click-to-pay consumer experience is seamless and secure, maximizing conversion rates for purchases from connected phones and tablets.
"This year we are opening-up mobile billing in Latin America and key Asian territories, and forecast coverage of 1 billion paying customers by year end - greater reach than any e-commerce system," said Malhotra. "Bango self-optimizes on-line payment from both smartphones and feature phones, meaning one connection to Bango delivers mobile payment worldwide."


Beccy Blount
Online Marketing & Campaigns Manager
866 201 3906

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American Express Takes Aim at Identity Thieves with ID Protect Premium

American Express logoImage via Wikipedia
As Costs and Time to Recover from Identity Theft Rise, New Service Helps Consumers Fight Fraud
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--American Express (NYSE:AXP) today launched ID Protect Premium, a comprehensive identity theft prevention service that helps consumers detect and prevent fraud before it occurs. The new service provides enhanced safeguards for consumers who increasingly live their lives online. These benefits include: the continuous monitoring of black market chat rooms for personally identifiable information, daily credit monitoring for any changes made to a consumer’s credit profile, and access to Norton™ Internet Security Online to combat malware.
“With ID Protect Premium, American Express helps to take the legwork out of protecting a consumer’s entire identity. We not only monitor and alert consumers any time suspicious activity is detected with their personal identity, we also help them through the entire resolution process.”
Last month, the Federal Trade Commission reported identity theft to be the number one complaint of U.S. consumers for the 11th year in a row1. Looking further into these complaints, independent research from Javelin Strategy and Research shows that consumers are spending more money and time to resolve identity theft claims. Last year alone, more than eight million victims devoted 33 hours and spent $610 on average to recover their identity2.
“In today’s social media world, preventing identity theft is becoming tougher as thieves are finding new ways to extract personal information every day,” said David Kroner, vice president and general manager, American Express, Card Services & Insurance. “With ID Protect Premium, American Express helps to take the legwork out of protecting a consumer’s entire identity. We not only monitor and alert consumers any time suspicious activity is detected with their personal identity, we also help them through the entire resolution process.”
ID Protect Premium offers consumers resolution assistance backed by American Express’s superior customer support and up to $1,000,000 of identity theft insurance. Dedicated fraud specialists are available 24/7 and help consumers through the resolution process. In addition to providing information, checklists, and forms, these specialists support consumers step by step through the process of calling financial institutions to cancel and order new cards, notifying credit bureaus, disputing items on credit reports, and filing a police report.
ID Protect Premium Benefits
ID Protect Premium is available for a monthly charge of $15.99 plus tax where applicable and includes:
  • 24/7 monitoring by CardCops® of black market web sites, public records and online directories for unauthorized use of consumers’ personal information such as Social Security numbers, names and addresses
  • Prompt alerts of potential unauthorized use of personal information
  • One-time access to reports from top credit bureaus: Equifax®, Experian® and TransUnion®
  • Ongoing daily credit monitoring from top credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and Transunion
  • NortonTM Internet Security Online 2011 software
  • Lost wallet protection covering consumers’ entire wallet including: debit, store, charge and credit cards
  • Up to $1,000,000 in ID Theft insurance to off-set consumers’ identity theft costs including legal expenses and reimbursement of unauthorized fund transfers not covered by the customer’s financial institution
ID Protect
ID Protect Premium is an enhancement to American Express’s existing identity protection service. That service, known as Single Identity, is being renamed ID Protect. With ID Protect, customers receive comprehensive security services for a monthly charge of $9.99 plus tax where applicable. These include 24/7 monitoring of online directories and public records, prompt alerts of potential unauthorized use of information, up to $25,000 in identity theft insurance, lost wallet protection and the services of a personalized fraud specialist.
To learn more or enroll in ID Protect Premium or ID Protect, consumers can visit http://www.idprotect.americanexpress.com or call 1(877) 309-0998.
About American Express
American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more atwww.americanexpress.com and connect with us on www.facebook.com/americanexpresswww.twitter.com/americanexpress and www.youtube.com/americanexpress.
1 Consumer Sentinel Network Complaint Categories, Federal Trade Commission Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book for January – December 2010, March 2011, pg. 6
2 2011 Identity Fraud Survey Report, Javelin Strategy and Research, February 8, 2011, pgs. 5, 7, 23 and 67.


American Express
Leah Gerstner, 212-640-3174
Ogilvy Public Relations
Laura Mills, 212-880-5305

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First Data Releases March 2011 SpendTrend

March Growth Steady Despite Tough Comps & Late Easter; Underlying Fundamentals Weaken
ATLANTA, April 11, 2011 – First Data Corporation, a global leader in electronic commerce and payment processing, today released its First Data SpendTrend®analysis for the full month of March 2011 compared to March 2010. SpendTrend tracks same-store consumer spending by credit, signature debit, PIN debit, EBT cards and checks at U.S. merchant locations.
Overall year-over-year dollar volume growth increased 8.1% in March, compared to February’s 8.4% growth rate. Excluding sales at gasoline stations, dollar volume growth was 6.9% in March versus 7.7% in February. Gasoline prices in March were up 30% year-over-year, which limited consumer discretionary spending.  
Overall average ticket growth was up 1.3% in March, the largest increase in over a year. Excluding gasoline stations, average tickets grew 0.7%. With end-of-season clearance sales over, consumers are now feeling the impact of inflation.
The Mid Atlantic region lagged all other regions in both dollar volume and transaction growth in March. Declines in travel and hotel spending put negative pressure on Mid Atlantic dollar volume growth. The Southwest region was the only region to experience higher transaction growth in March versus February.
Signature debit dollar volume growth rose to 10.2% in March, the largest increase since December. Direct deposit of tax refunds padded consumers’ checking accounts. Credit dollar volume growth slowed to 7.7% in March after posting a 12-month high of 9.9% in February.
“Despite difficult comparables, a later Easter holiday, and soaring gas prices, March proved to be a steady month for overall consumer spending,” said Silvio Tavares, SVP and division manager of First Data Information and Analytics Solutions.
March Transaction GrowthCHANGE   March Dollar Volume GrowthCHANGE
Credit+3.4%   Credit+7.8%
Signature Debit+9.7%   Signature Debit+10.2%
PIN Debit +5.4%   PIN Debit +6.6%
Check-15.4%   Check-12.3%
Note: All transactions are same-store growth.

For more information on First Data SpendTrend, visit www.firstdata.com/infoanalytics or call SpendTrend Customer Care at 800-430-0169.
To participate in the SpendTrend conversation, please follow First Data at http://twitter.com/FirstData and join us athttp://www.facebook.com/FirstData.
Around the world, every second of every day, First Data makes payment transactions secure, fast and easy for merchants, financial institutions and their customers. First Data leverages its vast product portfolio and expertise to drive customer revenue and profitability. Whether the choice of payment is by debit or credit card, gift card, check or mobile phone, online or at the checkout counter, First Data takes every opportunity to go beyond the transaction.
Media Contact
Elizabeth Grice, First Data

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