What’s behind the acceleration of NFC mobile payments?

Last updated: 25 November 2019

We are currently experiencing a long-heralded boom in the use of NFC for payments. There are a number of recent developments that are fuelling this – from the increasing number of mobile payment services being offered by banks to launches of initiatives like Transport for London’s contactless payment scheme. With more retailers offering exclusive discounts or loyalty programs via mobile wallets, and the mass awareness prompted by the launch of Apple Pay, there is a pervasive feeling that mobile payments are finally ready to hit the mainstream.

Apple’s decision to use Secure Element is the latest development to highlight this type of technology in the industry. It’s already the choice for many large scale implementations worldwide with Softcard

As more consumers get used to the idea of paying with their phones, organizations that haven’t yet made any preparations for NFC will want to get on board with the technology quickly. As they do this, they’ll need to bear in mind that the market for this is incredibly diverse, which has in turn been a contributing factor to the rise of Trusted Service Manager (TSM) consortiums.  One of the challenges in traditional implementations is securing the agreements that have to be negotiated between service providers (SPs), mobile network operators (MNOs) and Secure Element Issuers (SEIs) such as handset makers. The increasing momentum behind NFC is driving the emergence of TSM consortiums which enable SPs, MNOs and SEIs to work closely together. This has facilitated the whole process of preparing for NFC deployment in a diverse market. (For more information on TSM technology, see our explanation here).

We’re seeing TSM consortiums appear worldwide. In Italy, financial IT services provider SIA has set up a TSM consortium with the two major local mobile operators, which several banks are now joining. In Norway, Valyou, a company owned by Telenor (the country’s leading mobile operator), and DNB, the largest financial services provider, have built one which has is expected to grow across the entire Nordic region. In Hong Kong, Jetco, which runs the biggest ATM network in the region, has set up consortiums which are designed to allow end users to use their mobile phone to transact at more than 10,000 NFC acceptance points including globally renowned supermarket chains, convenience stores, fast food chains, cinemas and more.

We’ve actually just launched the Allynis Trusted Services Hub which will help any digital service provider to benefit from a single engagement with Gemalto, in order to securely deploy their value-added and mobile payment services across a comprehensive portfolio of smartphones and mobile networks around the world.

These developments, happening concurrently all over the world, are putting great momentum behind NFC technology with Secure Elements. With the might of Apple now on board, and more and more retailer and service providers investing in contactless POS infrastructure, the sky’s the limit for NFC. Perhaps it won’t be long before we can leave our wallets at home?

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