Contact-free and App Clips in Apple’s iOS 14


The Use of Contact-free is Accelerating

At Consult Hyperion, we have already seen the pandemic accelerate the adoption of contact-free payments in the face to face environment as customers have become wary of catching COVID by touching shared devices, such as self-service terminals and PIN pads.  The use of personal devices for payments is hardly new but the attraction of an in-app/in-store version of mobile payments, whereby the consumer uses an app on their own device to interact with the retailer or service provider and pay for services, has just increased dramatically. Solutions for parking (RingGo) and for restaurants (like the Wahaca app, powered by Judopay) were already demonstrating the benefits of such an approach for customers and businesses before COVID struck.

City Currency

The pandemic has revised interest in a topic that has surfaced repeatedly in Tomorrow’s Transactions events over the years, and that is the issue of local and complementary currencies. The Bristol Pound, the Brixton Pound, the Lewes Pound and many other experiments have sprung up around the country (indeed, around the world) to try to stimulate and regenerate local and regional trade and prosperity in response the changing economic circumstances. We tend to think of currencies as being instruments of the nation state but that’s actually a recent invention in the great scheme of things. There’s no reason to see optimal currency areas as inviolable laws of nature rather than transitional borders under prevailing monetary and financial arrangements.

Paying for Transit

I recently presented at the Transport Card Forum 2017 in Birmingham. The subject I was asked to speak about was “How will we pay for transit in the future”. Knowing how slowly things move in the transport industry, the easy answer would have been, exactly as we pay now.

However, I thought it would be more helpful to assume that the answer is not cash, and to survey the categories of payments available and emerging today and put them into the context of paying for transit.

The direction of travel of the transit ticketing industry is to use Account Based Ticketing (ABT) and so I further assumed that ABT lies at the heart of any solution. Next, the travelling customer has a choice of media used to identify them to their payment mechanism.  This is ring 1.


These customer media can be categorised as either open- or closed-loop. Open loop means that they can be used to make payments generally, whereas closed loop means they can only be used within the transit ticketing scheme.


Next comes the ‘authority to travel’ and ‘time of payment’ rings. Either the customer pays for authority in advance (e.g. season ticket) or they pay for it at the time of travel (e.g. pay on a bus or train) or they pay later. ‘Authority to travel’ might take the form of a ticket, but increasingly there will be no tickets issued. These are rings 2 and 3.


Finally, the outer rings (4 and 5) were added to show what kind of account might be used and how these relate to existing models such as those from the UKCA for the use of contactless bank cards in transit.


The UKCA models on the left-hand side have been discussed in previous blogs. Models 1 and 2 are what are being used in the UK building on what was achieved in London on TfL between 2008 and 2014. UK buses are now implementing Model 1 (and some are implementing parts of Model 2). Transport for the North (TfN) is implementing Model 2 for the whole of the North of England. Model 3 seems to have been abandoned as too hard to run in parallel with the other models. Perhaps other technologies will continue to dominate, such as bar code and ITSO smartcard ticketing for Pre-purchased authority to travel on national rail. Perhaps there is no need for a third way?

But what about those unable to use, or who do not wish to use, their own contactless bank cards? The right-hand side shows the equivalent models needed for them. As the figure below shows, there are two options for them, Either:

  • They fund a pre-paid transit account (a bit like loading value to an Oyster card, but value is loaded to the account instead for ABT. Or …
  • They allow payment to be taken directly from their payment account outside of the transit scheme. Payment is claimed from an open-loop account such as a payment card, bank account, online wallet (PayPal, Google Wallet, etc.).

The challenge for the latter option is that the transit scheme will struggle to manage the risk since the cannot tell whether the payment account has funds in it to pay for travel. Therefore, the preference at this stage is likely to be for for pre-paid transit accounts. And, therefore, this is what is likely to be chosen by TfN and other places as their solution for those not using bank cards with ABT schemes.


Thanks are due to my colleague, Alex Lithgow Smith, for developing my original idea of the rings showing aspects of payment in transit.

Give the public what they want

Well, this is interesting. On the very day of Consult Hyperion’s 20th (yes, 20th) annual Tomorrow’s Transactions Forum to discuss the future of secure electronic transactions and much besides what should fall through the internet tubes but the fifth annual “ING International Survey Mobile Banking 2017 – Cashless Society“, which surveyed nearly 15,000 people across 15 countries, and found that one in five (21%) people in Europe now rarely carries physical notes and coins, and a third (34%) would go completely cashless if given the choice.

Gin and contactless, one of my very favourite combinations

Gin and contactless is my second favourite cocktail (after the Moscow Mule).

Like those 34%, I’d like to be given the choice, but there are still places that won’t accept cards (such as the Real Ale bar in Wembley Stadium) which is why I went to the gin bar instead (as shown above). But these are becoming fewer and farther between, and not only in London.

“Dr Michael Collins, assistant professor of Social Policy at the University College of Dublin, tried to live without cash during one month to see if Ireland could become cashless in a near future and follow the example of its Scandinavian neighbour. His investigation demonstrated that almost all transactions can be done without banknotes and coins, except for some small value transactions, such as a coffee in a train.”

Cash is not replaceable

Ha! Even on Southwest Trains you can pay using contactless cards or Apple Pay and, when the new Chinese owners take over later this year, I imagine that Alipay and WeChat will be on the menu too. When do we get to wave goodbye to cash in Woking then? Well, sadly no time soon because while the trains have contactless, the ticket machines don’t (and I shouldn’t have to go to ticket machines anyway, but that’s a different point). But in ten years? 20 years?

“Gala Casino used linear regression on cash usage data from 2004 to 2014, which saw a drop from 71% to 53%, and Payments UK predictions for 2024, to arrive at its guesstimate that 2043 will be the year in which the number of cash transactions reaches zero per cent.”

Britain to go cashless in 2043?

I would imagine the graph turns out to be show cash asymptotic to zero rather than zero, but while I’m not sure that the number of “cash” transactions will ever reach zero, because some people will always want to use some form of immediate and anonymous payment system, I am sure (as I told the BBC’s “Wake up to Money” chap when he called to invite me on this morning) that William Gibson’s words in “Count Zero” are prescient: “He had his cash money, but you couldn’t pay for food with that. It wasn’t actually illegal to have the stuff, it was just that nobody ever did anything legitimate with it”. By 2043? Sure. But rather than just let it happen, we really need to set a national policy about it.

“Reducing cash doesn’t mean big savings, but removing cash does, and without an actual national policy on this, the benefits will go to the middle classes at the expense of the poor. “

via There you go bringing class into it again | Consult Hyperion

Therefore another vision for 2043 might be that cash becomes a class issue, where the middle classes never see cash from one week’s end to the next (except for the purpose of aiding and abetting tax evasion by paying the builder in £50s) but the underclass, trapped in cash, are excluded from the world of bank accounts and cards. This will be a good topic for discussion at this afternoon’s excellent expert panel on inclusion chaired by our CEO Neil McEvoy with Katie Evans (Money and Mental Health), Susie Lonie (who has years of experience in emerging markets), Elizabeth Duke from Carta Worldwide (who build pre-paid schemes for the unbanked) and our very own Paul Makin (the man who did the original feasibility study for M-PESA). Great stuff.

Dominating the city centres in the next five years

On 25 January 2017, I moderated a panel discussion at Transport Ticketing Global 2017 entitled “which public transport technology solution will be dominating city centres in the next five years”.

On the morning of the event, I get together with the panellists to consider how the discussion might go. I start to think about my experience of the past as a proxy for the future. Past performance is no guarantee of the future, I know, but my mind races:

In the 1990s, things started to move from paper and plastic tokens to smart card-based solutions. ITSO was born. In 2005, we worked with ITSO and the DfT to assess the suitability of ITSO for a national travel e-purse. We were asked by the DfT to help develop Part 11 of the ITSO specification in order that ITSO could be made more suitable to an online world and not require every reader to contain an ISAM.

In 2005, we worked with DfT to help them understand how their planned new smart ID card and driving licence might be used to modernise life for citizens in the UK. In 2007 we worked with DVLA on their planned pilot of smart driving licences to be issued from their new production plan in Swansea. UK gov decided not to issue any smart driving licences.

In 2008 we worked with DfT to determine the benefits and costs of a national smart ticketing infrastructure. In the same year, we ran a trial of how ITSO tickets could be supported on the primitive NFC phones available at the time. Mobile was going to be the next big thing. Also in the same year, we started working with TfL on how Open Loop ticketing could be deployed across the whole of the London Oyster reader estate.

This was nine years ago. We worked with TfL for seven years on that project, from specification of the readers and revenue inspection devices to designing the end-to-end security.

In 2012, TfL launched Open Loop ticketing on buses. In 2017 (approximately five years later) we are seeing the large bus operators outside of London launching their Open Loop ticketing systems, as well as collaborating with Transport for the North on a multi-modal, multi-operator solution.

I’m back into the room. The panellists and I quickly agree that the answer to the panel discussion questions is, pretty much, that the same technology solutions that are dominating now will be dominating in five years’ time, because of the slow speed at which the industry moves. There is a lot of work going on under the surface, but it takes years to emerge. I am sure that Account-based ticketing is coming next and some of that will be Open Loop. Various operators across the globe are talking to us about this at present.

A final example, last year we conducted a study on beacons for Be-In Be-Out (BIBO) style transit ticketing.  Our research showed that the industry has been looking at this since around 1997. There are still very few examples of it being successfully used, and yet it is still regularly cited as one of the next big things.

In April this year, Consult Hyperion is celebrating 20 years of annual Tomorrow’s Transactions conferences. I will be chairing a session on Transit ticketing on the second day about what is coming next. Confirmed speakers include:

Come and hear what they think is coming next. I expect we will have to look beyond five years.

Good night, cash

Last year I had the opportunity to hear Henning Jensen, who was there at the very beginning, talk about the history of the Danish Dankort national debit scheme at and event held in Copenhagen to mark the publication of his book “Historien om Dankort”. If you are not familiar with it, all you need to know is that Dankort has been fantastically successful. It is used absolutely everywhere in Denmark and for absolutely everything. There is no reason to use in Denmark. Ever.

Fullsizeoutput 4ae0

I’ve been to Denmark a fair few times in the last few years (including an expedition to Roskilde) and I cannot remember the last time I ever even saw cash in the country, let alone used it.

Nocash danish train  1

To recap, then. There is no reason to use cash in Denmark and nobody does. However, for historical reasons presumably going back to the time of the North Sea Empire, Danish Law forces retailers to accept it. It looks as if this is about to change. In what many cash supporters would undoubtedly see as the thin end of an inevitable wedge, the law is about to allow shops an exemption.

Since the introduction of the Dankort in 1984, shops have been required to accept cash if the customer insists… Now a majority in Parliament… has agreed to propose legislation that would allow shops to decide for themselves whether they will accept cash payments between 10 pm and 6 am.  The aim, according to those behind the law change, is to protect stores against robberies and provide security for employees.

From Danish shops could soon start rejecting cash payments at night – The Post

I’d be surprised if anyone notices if cash goes to bed at night. I’ve never met a Dane without a Dankort. In fact, sometimes I wish I had one.

IMG 5843

What might the be the likely high-level impact of this move? Well, a final push to ditch Danegeld for Dankort will be good for everyone. Cash costs society far more than debit cards and we all end up paying for that because the cross-subsidy from efficient electronic payments to inefficient cash payments is substantial. People like me who put everything on cards are still paying for ATMs, security guards, bank robberies and rascals blowing up Bexhill railway station.

the total social cost of payments in Denmark is calculated at 0.55% of GDP, of which 0.35% is attributed to cash and 0.15% to the domestic PIN debit scheme.

From Why would some retailers want to get rid of cash? Because of the others who don’t | Consult Hyperion

I hope Denmark pushes ahead and shows us the way. It should be a matter of course that we don’t use cash at night in polite society (except for buying cocaine and such like).

Shock therapy for cash

I expect that most of you will by now have read a fair bit about the (to my mind) fabulous living monetary experiment that is India. Obviously, I feel sorry for people who have been (to put it mildly) inconvenienced by the chaos caused by the removal of 85% of the currency “in circulation” in the country but as a student of monetary history and the interaction between technology and economics, it is absolutely fascinating to look at what is happening. I’m sure it will be a case study for years to come, and who knows what the long term impact will be, but I couldn’t wait and I couldn’t resist blogging. So let’s start at the beginning…

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that the existing 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes will be withdrawn from the financial system overnight. The surprise move is part of a crackdown on corruption and illegal cash holdings, he said in a nationwide address on television.

From India scraps 500 and 1,000 rupee bank notes overnight – BBC News

I saw some television reports of aggrieved and panicked Indians who were unable to get any cash and since much of the economy is cash-based, worrying about a slowdown in economic activity. It’s a bit of shock to go to the bank and discover it is closed. When the banks re-opened, it was with new money. Or at least it would have been with new money, had replacement been produced and distributed beforehand.

On November 8 evening, Reserve Bank of India governor Urijit Patel and senior government officials unveiled the new currency note of Rs 2000 and redesigned Rs 500 note.

From New Rs 2000 note to be introduced in India after banning old Rs 500 & 1000 notes: Pictures of 8 best looking currency notes across the globe –

The result was pandemonium. People went to ATMs to try to obtain new bills only find that there were none to be had. Rich people started paying poor people to stand in line for them to get money. I even saw a photo of people praying to a garlanded ATM! India is a big country and the ATM vendors had no more warning of the change than anyone else, so as you can imagine the planning and logistics were complex. The ATM operators were as non-plussed as the general public by the sudden change.

“Re-configurations takes time so it has to be done one by one. Things should be normal in ten days. You have to understand there are 2 lakh ATMs in the country but there are only three to four vendors.”

From Just 35,000 personnel to replenish ₹16 lakh crore in ATMs | business-news | Hindustan Times

The net result of all of this was that the country ran out of money. Literally. There was no money available for commercial transactions. So to Indians, it really was a big deal and a major disruption.  So why was this done? There were two explicit reasons given for the de-monetisation. One was that it was an attack on terrorist funding and the second was that it was an attack on the black economy. I don’t know enough about terrorist financing in India to comment on the efficacy of the  move, but it seemed to target counterfeiting operations in Pakistan.

It disrupts the production of FICN in Pakistan, and makes redundant existing stocks of fake currency with a vast network of terror funders-the hawala traders and money launderers. “The phaseout of these notes is a double whammy for Pakistan,” says Colonel Vivek Chadha of the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, Delhi.

From Taking out Pakistan’s terror mints : The Big Story – India Today 21112016

As for the black economy, there is no doubt that the move has had, and will have, an impact. There was an awful lot of money sloshing around outside of the banking system and as far as I understand there was rampant tax evasion amongst the more well-off amongst the population. Having spoken to a couple of people recently returned from India, I got the impression that members of the public were comfortable that the distruption, bad though it was, was a price worth paying. And there is no doubt that the move shifted many transactions on the record immediately.

“A majority of our transactions have suddenly become white because of card payments and people are also not tipping as much now,” a waiter at the restaurant said.

From demonetisation of currency: Card payments surge, trip & steady after restricted flow of money – Times of India

The government’s plan was that people would bring their cash to the bank, declare it, pay tax on it and then either get new cash in return or actually start using bank accounts (a great many of which are dormant). And, indeed, this is what seems to have happened, with the cash being returned in amounts greatly exceeding the government’s calculations. By the end of the year, almost all of the notes had been deposited. 

Banks have received 14.97 trillion rupees ($220 billion) as of Dec. 30, the deadline for handing in the old bank notes, the people said, asking not to be identified citing rules for speaking with the media. The government had initially estimated about 5 trillion rupees of the 15.4 trillion rupees rendered worthless by the sudden move on Nov. 9 to remain undeclared

From India Said to Get 97% Banned Notes in Setback to Graft Crackdown – Bloomberg

This was taken to mean that Modi had been ill-informed and that there was no corruption and that certainly may be the case. But an alternative explanation is that people who may have been uncomfortable with depositing their money for one reason or another laundered the money before it got to the banking systems. They went out to start buying gold and jewellery for cash instead. 

The gold and jewellery route has been followed by persons with black money to convert their Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes at a haircut of 20-40%. 

From Govt likely to put curbs on jewellers | Business Standard News

That seems a reasonable deal. Pay tax to the government and potentially have to give up the rest o the cash because of anti-corruption investigations or pay tax to the jeweller and mum’s the word. Since India has a long tradition of using gold jewellery as a store of value, this seems unsurprising in retrospect. It led to another crackdown on those who decided to convert their black money into black but still quite liquid gold.

This move will halt such sales of gold at a huge premium against old currency notes, which jewellers were doing till the Income Tax (I-T) department raided them across the country on Friday and sent around 600 notices to jewellers asking the details of daily sales from November 7 to 10. The I-T department, in its notices, also asked for CCTV footages, especially of cameras near cash counters, to seek date-wise information and to check if PAN numbers or ID proofs were collected from customers.

From Govt likely to put curbs on jewellers | Business Standard News

CCTV footage! Incredible. Anyway, the upshot of all of this was that cash vanished from circulation without a viable alternative in place. What kind of alternative might there have been? Well, the answer is obvious. India really should have a widespread, vibrant and effective mobile payment infrastructure but it has been slow to develop. I wrote about this a few years ago, noting that it was the regulatory environment that was holding back the evolution of the sector (the Reserve Bank of India’s “calibrated approach” to mobile payments). As the figures from Kenya that I posted last week show, it is possible to use mobile phones as an alternative to cash.

Look at Kenya, where there are now more than 33 million mobile money users and 174,000 mobile agent locations. The most recent figures from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBA) show an astonishing trend. From February 2013 until September 2016, the number of monthly M-PESA transactions almost tripled, going from 53 million to 131 million, while the number of card transactions fell from 34 million down to 18 million.

From Fish without cash | Consult Hyperion

So Kenya (and, for that matter, China) show just how effective mobile solutions can be. Hence my thinking that it may have been better for India to have waited until the more flexible regulatory regime had begun bear fruit before taking the quite drastic step of removing those banknotes. I’m sure I will blog again and in more detail about the Indian experiment as more data comes in, but I think we can already see a shift in government rhetoric from corruption and terrorism to cashlessness and efficiency, with officials urging banks, merchants and mobile players to accelerate the deployment of alternatives. Meanwhile, I just want to pull in a couple of other observations on the great experiment underway in India right now. First, the potential for alternatives:

‘Bitcoin adoption in India sees surge’

From ‘Bitcoin adoption in India sees surge’ – The Hindu

In fact Bitcoin volume on India exchanges doubled in the couple of weeks following the announcement but then fell back again at the end of the year. I think it highly unlikely that Bitcoin will step in to fill the gap left by the removal of the highest value banknotes. It looks to me that a more widely-used alternative to cash will be… nothing. In the cities the merchants are getting payment terminals or mobile phone alternatives but outside the cities, people could easily get by for some time without a circulating means of exchange. This is not wild prediction. I have previously posted about the famous case study of the Irish bank strikes that demonetised the Emerald Isle in the 1960s and 1970s. Subsequent economic analysis showed that the absence of money had surprisingly little impact on the economy! People just began to write cheques or IOUs and these debt instruments began to circulate.

Murphy points out that one of the key reasons why a “personalised credit system” could substitute for cash was the local nature of the circulation — which… was centred on pubs — so that the credit risk was minimised.

From Payments without banks | Consult Hyperion

In summary Ireland was a more rural economy in those days so life continued in a reputation-based transaction economy. Well, guess what: the same thing is happening in India.

However being a very close knit society, local people count on each other so they are able to buy the essential commodities from the shops in good faith, the payment of which they would make later on after having money. So this way, they are not feeling panicky like rest of the country

From Here, banks are giving only 10 rupee coins – Times of India

OK so the demonetisation of Ireland and the demonetisation of India are wholly different in origin, scale, purpose and destination. Still. Mr. Modi’s actions must have set a few more national leaders thinking about taking radical action to move toward a less-cash economy more quickly than otherwise might have been the case especially since we know that high-value banknotes in many countries (e.g., the UK) are primarily used for criminal purposes. 

Fish without cash

 We all still processing the data coming in from India’s radical experiment with money, and I still think that is way too soon to pass any judgement at all on whether the experiment has been worthwhile or successful, but it is interesting to see some of the immediate effects of the government’s policy of de-monetisation. For example, fish.

Modi’s surprise announcement wiped out 86% of the nation’s currency overnight, leaving the vendors at Panjim’s fish market to suffer heavy losses. “Nobody has cash, so they’re not buying fish.”

From ‘Who buys fish with a credit card here?’ Traders scoff at Goa’s bid to ditch cash | World news | The Guardian

 The headline, of course, sets up a slightly false dichotomy because the choice facing the Goan fish market traders is not cash or credit card but cash or an electronic substitute for cash. And it gives me an excuse to post a picture of me in Goa, because I just read an article that said that blog posts with pictures have more of an impact than text-only.


A completely irrelevant picture of me in Goa.

Now, as it happens, the local government in Goa have already decided that the future lies beyond cash and very shortly those fish traders (as well as absolutely everybody else) will have a substitute.

From January, Goa’s government has announced that the city will go “cashless”, meaning every street vendor, rickshaw driver and shopkeeper must offer their customers the option to pay using a debit card or mobile phone.

From ‘Who buys fish with a credit card here?’ Traders scoff at Goa’s bid to ditch cash | World news | The Guardian

Is it possible to imagine Goans buying fish without cash? Well, yes. Look at Kenya, where there are now more than 33 million mobile money users and 174,000 mobile agent locations. The most recent figures from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBA) show an astonishing trend. From February 2013 until September 2016, the number of monthly M-PESA transactions almost tripled, going from 53 million to 131 million, while the number of card transactions fell from 34 million down to 18 million. Yes, you heard that correctly. While mobile money using was tripling, card use was halving. I am told by reliable sources that one of the key reasons for this, apart from M-PESA being accepted  at some 150,000 retail outlets now in a country with only around 10,000 cards terminals, is that when it came time to re-issue EMV cards for Kenyan bank customers, the customers had to go their local branch, with identification, and stand in line to get their new card. Many of them just didn’t bother, especially since they had already started to use mobile money instead of cards.

Central Bank of Kenya statistics show a decline in the use of credit and debit cards, despite the number of Kenyans holding them rising.

From Which payment system is best for when you are drunk? M-PESA! | Consult Hyperion

Anyway, the point is that an astonishing 96% of Kenya household now have at least one M-PESA user. That means, to all intents and purposes, that mobile money is an alternative to cash. That’s not to say that the cards guys are taking it laying down. They can read the papers just as well as I can, and so they have begun to look at alternatives to the dip, tap or swipe at point of sale and are investigating more mobile-centric alternatives.

Visa, has entered into partnership with Ecobank,  to roll out “mVisa,” an innovative mobile payment service in 33 African markets by year-end. Mvisa enables consumers to pay for goods and services for their everyday expenses from  groceries to  taxi services by simply scanning a QR code on a smart phone or entering a merchant identification number into their feature phones

From Mobile Money Africa

The Kenyan banks are also preparing to launch an instant payments switch so that Kenyans with bank accounts can send money to one another instantly using their mobile phones so at some point in 2017 there will be bank-account, payment-account and card-account competition in the marketplace, which should be great for users.

The Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) yesterday unveiled Integrated Payments Service Limited (IPSL) — the company that will facilitate direct transfer of money between banks without going through M-Pesa.

From Banks launch firm to take on M-Pesa’s mobile cash dominance – Money Markets

The M-PESA figures are fascinating and they show just how effective a mobile solution can be. So how come India didn’t have this kind of mobile infrastructure in place before the government decided to de-monetise. It’s not because Indians don’t have phones, don’t have entrepreneurs, don’t have programmers and don’t have users who would prefer mobile solutions. They have all of these. What they didn’t have, until recently, was a regulatory platform to build on. This began to change last year when the RBI licensed 11 “payment banks” to provide competition and the National Payment Corporation of India launched their Universal Payment Interface (UPI). I said at the time that I thought these moves would grow the sector.

I am sure that the competition and innovation that these non-banks will bring to the Indian market will lead to a pretty rapid increase in the use of mobile financial services there

From An Indian summer for mobile payments | Consult Hyperion

Mobile is the future of fish purchases as far as I can see. The most commonly used mobile wallet in India, Paytm, saw its volumes pretty much double (to around 7m transactions per day) following the withdrawal of the bank notes and I’m sure new services from the payment banks will help such mobile plays to continue to grow. However, the first of those payment banks only went in to operation about a week before the de-monetisation so they didn’t really have much of chance to make an impact. Hence my thinking that it may have been better for India to have waiting until the more flexible regulatory regime had begun bear fruit before. I’m going to blog in more detail about the Indian experiment as more data comes in, but I just wanted to put down a marker here to make the point that given the appropriate regulatory infrastructure I think that the evidence is clear that mobile phones do indeed provide a viable alternative to cash.

Account-based ticketing workshops

We’ve been having a lot of fun in recent months leading workshops for transport operators about account-based ticketing. Sharing our recent experience with clients such as the UK’s Transport for London (TfL) and Transport for the North (TfN), Hungary’s BKK, New Zealand’s NZTTL, Belgium’s De Lijn and Stockholm’s Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (SL) and Singapore’s LTA.

The workshops are designed to help transport operators who are new to account-based ticketing understand the issues and options, including how Open-Loop bank cards can be blended with existing smart ticketing. A typical agenda covers the following subjects:


  • Customer propositions should drive everything
  • Smart ticketing trends
  • Technology roadmap
  • Benefits of ABT and Open-Loop


  • Basic architecture overview
  • Generic architecture
  • Open loop vs closed loop (the back office)
  • Providing for the unbanked

Open-Loop solutions

  • Open loop implementatons in other countries
  • The 4-party model for payments
  • Transit Transaction Models (’Models 1-3’)
  • Transit Charging Framework (generic, global)


  • EMV
  • Working with a QSA

Our latest workshop was sponsored by Mastercard and hosted by Swedbank in Riga, Latvia, and had an audience of 40 including:

  • Transport operators
  • Government bodies
  • Industry suppliers
  • Media

We are looking forward to leading more similar workshops in 2017 across Europe.

Riga view from workshop at 9am.
Riga view from workshop at 9am.

Riga workshop sponsored by Mastercard and hosted by Swedbank.
Riga workshop sponsored by Mastercard and hosted by Swedbank.

Discussing a 'strawman' solution for Riga's needs.
Discussing a ‘strawman’ solution for Riga’s needs.

HCE moves on

In payments, as in so many other fields, Kazakhstan is a beacon to the nations. I notice, for example. that they have recently launched a new tap and pay service that uses host card emulation, or HCE as it is known to us afficionados.

Customers of Kazkommertsbank (KKB) in Kazakhstan can now make host card emulation (HCE) based NFC mobile payments using a new service launched in partnership with Visa.

From Kazakhstan gets HCE payments • NFC World+

An advanced nation. In fact, as I wrote a decade ago…

So here is a picture for Borat to take with him next time he visits America. It’s an EMV terminal.

From Cultural learnings of Kazakhstan for make benefit glorious nation of America

For those of you who think that HCE is old news, I have to tell that you my colleagues at Consult Hyperion have been working on wide variety of HCE products and services and not only for customers in the financial services sector, but also in retail, ticketing and other fields. The ability to conduct transactions with chip and PIN levels of security via mobile devices is useful in many different applications and more and more service providers are taking advantage of it to deliver a better service to card customers. Take a look at what American Express are doing with it now, for example, or what Barclaycard launched earlier in the year. Or, for that matter, what Barclays announced today about using their Android app to withdraw cash from their new contactless ATMs.

What’s more, of course, is that now that the industry is building expertise and obtaining feedback from a number of different operational services in different countries it is a good time to survey the landscape again and have a look at where to go next. I’m very keen to see how it will develop, especially beyond the “traditional” NFC channel. HCE over Bluetooth looks like pretty interesting avenue to explore as well! Anyway, all of this is why I was happy to accept an invitation to chair the HCE Summit in Amsterdam on 24th November and I’ll look forward to seeing you all there at the end of the week.

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