Mobile Payment, Apple pay Et tu, Brute?


Few days ago the giant smart phone manufacturer Apple announced its new payment product ‘Apple pay’ and finally iPhone will come with NFC port in a step that all the world identified as very late step from Apple side!

Apply pay

Apart form the new introduced techniques, the added security value and the new payment experience, the announced product did not add any new value or proposition to the mobile payment industry.

 

Continue reading “Mobile Payment, Apple pay Et tu, Brute?”


Mobile Payment; NFC, Why? and Why not?! [2 of 2]

In the previous article we went through the NFC and the need behind this technology, we have reached a conclusion that the data transmission technology is one of the major challenges vendors and wallet issuers are trying to surpass to allow Mobile payments to boom and start taking some of the payment cards share.

Mobile payment NFCNFC is one of the possible solutions that might help, but still there are some challenges delays the new technology expansion.

We will try to list the major challenges NFC is fighting against in the blue few bullets to be as an indicator for your weather to launch or postpone your upcoming NFC products.

Feature mobiles,

It’s a fact that NFC is made only for elected segment of smart phones, not even a generic technology for all manufactured phones, and it’s a fact that the famous Nokia 3310 will never support this advanced technology!

Still it needs more time and pressure on handset vendors to adopt NFC antenna by default, and you have to understand that your solution will only work with limited number of devices. The more time you can wait the more customers you may gain, otherwise it will end up with an annoying sign (Samsung Galaxy 3, 4 and 5 only supported!).

And even smart phones,

From each smart phone brand still only a series or two comes with NFC support, and again some famous brands like iPhone has not implemented this technology yet – that iPhone 6 might support NFC- and again you still have limited coverage and penetration issue.

The wallet solution,

Each mobile wallet system has its own processes, interfaces and APIs. While account number is mandatory for a certain wallet system to process a new payment order, it might be unnecessary or even not considered at all in another solution from a different vendor. It means that a mobile APP for solution A will not transmit the same information submitted from another mobile APP developed for solution B.

Back to the POS,

With respect to the previous point you may think how a single POS may support multiple wallet vendors, and you have to consider that mobile payment must be a cross-border service, where you should not limit your design to only the local vendors in your country, you still need to consider other international wallet roamers that will appear on your system from time to time trying to submit payment orders using your platform.

Standards,

In a final conclusion, NFC is a channel of communication with a proven security and maturity specifications. But still it needs more support and push from vendors and mobile manufacturers to boom.

Worth mentioning that NFC as a contact-less payment features is not limited or restricted to mobile operators or mobile wallet vendors. The exiting card players are also investing in this track trying to upgrade their payment systems to be more interactive and enrich it with extra digital and fancy options.

Is NFC the real future or a dead technology? As you may noticed its very hard to answer this question with a sharp and clear answer. We still need to wait and see what the future is holding for this long debate and I’m sure we will be surprised at the end!

Photo Credit: http://www.emobilepos.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/eMobilePOS.jpg

Mobile Payment; NFC, Why? and Why not?! [1 of 2]

NFC is one of the hottest topics in payment, you will notice this hot topic wherever there is a discussion related to mobile payment and you will many arguments about NFC as the future while others confirms that NFC is a dead technology.

Mobile payment NFCIn this article we will go through NFC and its related challenges, at the end of this article the same question will remain unanswered, Is NFC coming or passing away? There is no final answer and the debates will carry on.

What is NFC?

Apart from the technical definition you may check here, I will try to simplify it with a direct need example so you will have an idea about the NFC benefits and why there is a lot of debates around it.

In my own pocket wallet I have many cards Credit Card, Debit Card, Medical care Card, Kids zone Card and Club access Card. All cards has the same width, height, thickness and the most important is the magnetic strip bar. This magnetic bar exists with the same measures and the same exact location regardless the card manufacturer or purpose, which make it easy to a typical POS machine to read it and transfer the stored information which might differ from a card to another (Account number, Balance, Last access, Name … etc.).

It is just a matter of which information the manufacturer previously saved, and the POS software is developed to read to transfer it to the back end system for final processing and handling, before displaying the friendly message ‘Transaction Completed’.

Why NFC?

Now let’s try to relate the above traditional card payment process to the mobile payment industry, how do you imagine the mobile payment POS? Should it fit the iPhone size? iPhone 3, 4, 5 or 6.

How about Samsung devices? How it could fit Galaxy or Note devices at the same time? Should we think about other Samsung brands like Mega, Ace and Y … and how may we ensure it will fit HTC, Black berry or Nokia devices?!

Bluetooth,

Ok let’s forget about designing a POS based on shape or size and think about other technology like Bluetooth as example. Bluetooth is a good option but there are some draw backs too.

  • iPhone does not support all Bluetooth functionality like android or Nokia
  • On other side Bluetooth has a wide coverage range and could be spammed, you must passed through this horrible experience with an unknown device trying to send you files forcing you to set your Bluetooth off
  • It takes a time to setup
  • And some more … [Click here for extra information]

The need,

There is real need to find a way to transfer the payment data from mobile to the merchant awaiting device. Vendors and payment processors are trying to look for a standard way to transfer the payment data from the mobile device to the POS machine.

The need behind this is to support the retails and stores daily payments without the need to use multiple POS machines and with a unified payment experience. A typical user must follow the same steps regardless his mobile type or wallet issuer.

In Part2 we will explore the NFC opportunities and challenges so please stay tuned!

Photo Credit: http://mycanadianmerchantaccounts.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/debit-machine.png

Bitcoin explained in nutshell

As an internet user you should be familiar with the open source term. Open source OS, office tools, graphic software or utility software.

Open source as a development model promotes:

  • Universal access via free license to a product’s design or blueprint
  • Universal redistribution of that design or blueprint, including subsequent improvements to it by anyone

Satoshi Nakamoto an anonymous internet user or group of users thought to apply a decentralized financial institution where anyone could join the community and be a part of a new open source money issuing system, not related or controlled by any legal or government. Funny!

Using a traditional Peer 2 Peer network and complex encryption techniques each connected client is now part of the new issuing system and in reverse he will receive his reward in bitcoin credits.

But How bitcoin get its value?

To answer this point we may raise another question why 1$ USD has a value? and the simple answer is 1$ USD is valuable cause you may exchange it with resources like a candy, gum or a small cupcake!

It’s valuable because your are quite sure that the candy shop guy will be interested to exchange his owned candy with your 1$ USD, the candy guy will exchange his candies because he is also sure that the coffee shop owner will be interested to exchange one of his hot espresso with his new collected 1$ USD.

It’s all a bout trust, where all the traders trusts that the US government will back its issued money with resources to keep it’s value along the way.

In bitcoin world, where users participate with their computing power to collect the new digital coins, and because it’s a long process and it takes time users value the collected bitcoins and start looking for alternatives to collect bitcoins faster. May be they offer their advanced services is exchange of bitcoins rather than coins and it might be also cheaper or bundled with some promotional offers.

New attracted users will keep looking for bitcoins to benefit the price difference and the offers as well! This will soon create a cycle and community who value this digital currency and as much the community grows the bitcoin value grows in response.

Back to our previous 1$ USD and imagine that you are lost in a desert between a group of people, and you had the last and only cupcake which will give you an extra 5 life days with a wise consumption. Will you trade your life-cupcake with 1$, 10$, 20$ or a Million USD!

That’s why bitcoin has a value!