Identive to Restructure; Keeps NFC Products Intact

Identive Group, a secure ID and NFC tag and reader maker, has announced it will cut 11% of its global workforce as part of restructuring expected to save up to $5 million this year.

Discover Financial’s Emerging Payments Chief Departs for Barclaycard

Farhan Ahmad, who headed U.S.-based Discover Financial Services’ prepaid and emerging payments units, including its nascent NFC and contactless programs, has left Discover for UK-based issuer Barclaycard, NFC Times has learned.

Chip Maker Marvell to Demo High-Speed Wi-Fi Chip with NFC

U.S.-based Marvell Technology Group has announced that it will begin demonstrating its planned high-speed Wi-Fi chip incorporating NFC for fast pairing of ultrabooks, tablets, gaming consoles and smart TVs.

AmEx Exec: NFC Could Take Four to Six Years for Widespread Deployment

It could take four to six years for widespread deployment of NFC at the retail point of sale, but the technology needs to become more than just a “form-factor change” from cards, said Dan Schulman, group president, Enterprise Growth, at American Express.

New Zealand Payments Provider and Telco Launch NFC Service on Newly Released Galaxy S III

In what is believed the first use of Samsung’s new flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S III, for NFC mobile payment, consumers in New Zealand can tap the Android phone to pay for bus and taxi rides, as well as small retail purchases.

UK Post Office Announces Large Rollout of Contactless Terminals

The UK Post Office has announced it will start equipping more than 11,500 branches nationwide with contactless terminals next month, which would make it the biggest single merchant accepting contactless payment in Europe.

London Oyster Card Chief: NFC Not Ready for Fast-Paced Fare Payment

LONDON – The head of London’s large Oyster card program expressed frustration with the pace of development of NFC, complaining the technology isn’t ready for London transit riders to use to pay fares.

UK Bus Operator Trials NFC Tickets with Orange UK

Mobile operator Orange UK and bus company Stagecoach have launched a small transit ticketing trial, which they say could lead to a national rollout next year.

VeriFone, Equinox Announce Deal with PayPal for POS Terminal Support; NFC Possible Later

May 24 2012 (All day)

Point-of-sale terminal supplier VeriFone is the second major POS terminal vendor to announce a deal to support PayPal’s in-store payment system in its devices.

Transport for London Blames Complexities for Missing Olympics Deadline for Open-Loop Payment

Transport for London has confirmed it will miss its deadline for accepting open-loop credit and debit card payments on London buses in time for the start of the Summer Olympics.

NFC Trial at French Airport to Test SIM-Based Security Passes

May 24 2012 (All day)

Fifty passengers at French regional airport Toulouse-Blagnac will test an application that puts a security pass to access airport facilities on SIM cards in BlackBerry NFC phones.

ZTE: Europe is Next Target for NFC Phones

China-based phone maker ZTE indicated it will be targeting Europe with its NFC phones, although it did not specify models or release dates.

Apple Unveils Digital Wallet for Next Mobile OS; No Word on NFC Yet

In what could be the first step by Apple toward launching a full mobile wallet, Apple today unveiled Passbook, an application built into its next mobile operating system, iOS 6, which the company introduced at its Worldwide Developers Conference.

Apple said Passbook would store boarding passes, movie tickets, retail coupons, loyalty cards and more, including store cards.

Besides putting these passes, coupons and cards conveniently into one place, the application will use geolocation to pull up the proper card or pass when the consumer is in the relevant venue.

“Wake your iPhone or iPod touch, and passes appear on your lock screen at the appropriate time and place­–like when you reach the airport or walk into the store to redeem your gift card or coupon,” said Apple. “And if your gate changes after you’ve checked in for your flight, Passbook will even alert you to make sure you’re not relaxing in the wrong terminal.”

Most of the cards, passes and tickets in the Passbook demo screens Apple showed at the conference and on its Web site today use 2-D bar codes, including those from a Starbucks mobile-payment app and a United Airlines boarding pass.

Scott Forstall, senior vice president of iPhone software at Apple, who introduced the features of the iOS 6 including Passbook, did not mention NFC during his keynote at the conference.

But since Apple was not introducing its next iPhone today, a device expected to be unveiled in the fall, it’s not surprising there was no mention of NFC, said online commentator Brian Roemmele, writing on Quora, who describes himself as a 28-year payments industry veteran.

Although it’s too early to tell whether the next iPhone will support NFC, some, such as Roemmele, believe it will. And the Passbook application introduced today shows Apple is planning to work with other service providers to enable payment, among other mobile-commerce applications.

“Thus, it is just a matter of time before we see the payment card integration of Passbook, with a slight name change in the future,” Roemmele predicted. “At this point, Apple will have no desire to replace Visa and MasterCard but to become a conduit for these existing services. Apple’s own iTunes accounts will be available for retail purchases at the Apple store, however there is little chance that iTunes will ever become a retail payment system.”

But penetration of contactless point-of-sale terminals remains less than 5% in the U.S. That is expected to grow substantially as more merchants change their point-of-sale terminals to meet mandates by the major payment schemes to support more secure EMV cards. Many are expected to support contactless at the same time.

That will take at least a couple of years to roll out, however. So if Apple were to support NFC in its next iPhone targeting payments, there would be relatively few places for consumers to tap their NFC-enabled iPhones to pay in the U.S.

On the other hand, Apple could decide to include an NFC chip in its next iPhone not mainly for payments but to make it easier for users to share content among their Apple devices. Content sharing among Apple devices is a priority for the company, observers have pointed out.

But that would mean Apple would have to include NFC in not only the iPhone but in other devices. There is no indication yet that it is preparing to do so, despite the company’s numerous patents or patent requests involving NFC.

Apple has yet to act on any of these patents and, as usual, Apple is not tipping its hand early on features of its next devices.

The iOS 6 will be available in the fall and is expected to be used on the new iPhone. It will be compatible with all past iPhone models starting with the 3GS. The fourth-generation iPod touch, iPad 2 and next iPad will also support the new operating system version.