Apple Pay, Google Wallet, CurrentC: It’s a new fuss in NFC

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Credit Card trashed? Check.

Train ticket trashed? Check.

Loyalty Cards trashed? Check.

Perfect for the new wave of easing the wallet of its weight.

Welcome the brave new world of NFC technology. Going are the days when you need to carry on you a hoard of cards and a mind filled with passwords. With Apple’s Apple Pay and Samsung’s potential deal with LoopPay, NFC-based payments are set to make money exchange easy and conveniently mobile.

A few weeks back we took our readers on a journey through NFC technology implemented by Royal Bank of Canada and the manner in which it is revolutionizing the e-wallet concept. And while this new wave is sweeping over the tech world, Apple and Samsung have again locked horns in grabbing the larger share of the NFC pie.

Soon after Apple’s big ticket announcement of introducing a payment method on Apple Passbook – Apple Pay – Samsung and Looppay (a mobile wallet start-up) entered into talks of a collaboration collaborated earlier this month to introduce NFC payment methods on select Samsung phones. While NFC technology is not new to Samsung’s high-end mobile phones, this new collaboration is expected to take it higher by a couple of notches (and of course compete with Apple with greater strength).

Big retailers attempt to chomp Apple

Samsung isn’t the only company that is deterring Apple’s share in the market. Industry reports state that several US retail giants plan to boycott Apple Pay. Now, this doesn’t really spring a surprise as MCX, a mobile commerce network formed by America’s retail giants including Wal-Mart and BestBuy, is on its way to launch its brainchild – CurrentC – a mobile payment technique that is expected to be launched in 2015.

The Who’s Who of America’s retail giants are all part of MCX. By bypassing Apple Pay with Current C, they stand to profit over a longer period, says a Business Insider article.  Source: tuicool.com

The Who’s Who of America’s retail giants are all part of MCX. By bypassing Apple Pay with Current C, they stand to profit over a longer period, says a Business Insider article.
Source: tuicool.com

Why the hullaballoo?

The market targeted by various NFC-based payment players are retail transactions businesses worth a humungous $15 trillion a year. In 2013 alone, transactions worth around $235 billion were made using mobile platforms and this is expected to reach $720 billion by 2017, according to a Forbes report. Industry indicators suggest that around $2.1 billion of this is presumed to be made through NFC, while in 2014 it more than tripled to around $7.5 billion. Such transaction value is expected to grow nine times and touch $62 billion by 2016. And with Apple jumping into the fray, analysts believe the dawn of this easy to use payment method has arrived.

The six prime stakeholders: who will win?

It’s a unique fight – the fight to dominate and control the mobile payment industry. And who are the fighters but financial institutions, retailers, wireless technology providers, traditional and mobile payment services, and device makers.

Back in 2007, American Express, MasterCard and Visa introduced a contactless card using NFC technology. By late 2010, a joint venture between AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile helped them jump into the mobile payment space with Softcard (formerly Isis Mobile Wallet, no prizes for guessing why they had to change the name!) based on NFC.

The battleground was readied and Google and Paypal joined the heated fight for survival in 2011 with Google Wallet and Paypal NFC payments. After a lull of three years, there came the next big ticket introduction by Apple in 2014. And now, 2015 is all set to usher in a year of action with Samsung and retailer partnered CurrentC in the race.

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NFC Intellect: who’s play is it anyway?

Mobile functionality has always been in the middle of a legal storm. And NFC is just that new reason for major NFC players to drag each other to court. If Paypal sued Google over trade secrets when many of its employees involved in developing Paypal NFC payment gateways left to join the Android developer. What’s more, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile have blocked Google Wallet on their mobile phones, each with their own platform reasons.

E-Micro Corporation filed a patent lawsuit against Google after the launch of Google Wallet in 2011. But by September 2012, the Android giant signed a backroom deal and acquired all 13 NFC patents from E-Micro. Despite this win, Google Wallet is still making the rounds of the courts with an inventor, Peter Sprogis, filing a case against Google for “infringing” on his patent that speaks of awarding points using transponders.

On Track Innovations filed a lawsuit against T-Mobile for its patent US6045043, claiming the latter’s smartphone services based on HTC Amaze 4G and Nokia Astound violate its NFC technology.

And in the midst of all this melee, Apple has filed 23 patents to protect its Apple Pay technology… and of course fight for its space in the m-commerce space against Current-C.

(Featured image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/vodafone_de/19391771818)

Rushanthini Subramaniam
Rushanthini Subramaniam

Rushanthini is a pro in mining the best infringement evidence to strengthen contentions. A techno geek, she enjoys delving into the finer nuances of patenting activities and blogging about them.


Ashwani Arora
Ashwani Arora

A technocrat who eyes tech updates with a magnifying glass, Ashwani’s blogs describe ideas and thoughts that are often hidden between the lines.


Vivek T
Vivek T

For Vivek, finding the best evidence in a patent case is like manna to his intellect. He hopes to beat Phileas Fogg’s record of travelling around the world in less than 80 day, albeit in a luxurious liner.


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