In our Live 5 for 2021 we raised micro-location as an area of technology where we expect to start seeing significant advances being made. UWB (Ultra Wideband) is just starting to get traction in consumer electronics and we believe that this will trigger innovation in micro-location technology.
When we look forward to 2021, it is no surprise that COVID-19 is the dominant factor. So far as the merchant payments world is concerned, the shape of the post-pandemic new normal transaction environment must be the key strategic consideration for stakeholders and I am desperately keen to hear the variety of informed opinion on this topic that I have come to expect at Merchant Payments Ecosystem every year. At Consult Hyperion we like to contribute to these conversations by providing a useful framework for discussion: our annual “Live 5”, our yearly set of suggestions for strategic focus. This year, we choose to look at the key issue of pandemic transformation and its impact of on the three key domains where our clients operate: Payment, Identity and Transit, together with (as is traditional!) a suggestion as to a technology that the POS world may not be thinking about but probably should be.
This is the second of three blogs about technologies to support contact-free use of public transport.
Public transport operators have been making great efforts to make public transport safe during the pandemic. TfL recently launched a new app that makes it easier for passengers to plan their travel and avoid routes where they might come close to large numbers of people. There are claims that the rate of uptake of contactless by passengers has increased significantly since the pandemic and the demand for contact-free transactions on public transport. Visa recently offered a graph relating to global public transport contactless transactions. However, it is not clear what the actual contactless usage is since they are hidden behind month-on-month percentage increases which look enormous when the previous months had fallen off the proverbial cliff.
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.
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.
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.