Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Blaze Mobile Gets NFC Sticker Patent

Blaze Mobile announced it had been awarded a patent for its mobile wallet and a sticker. The NFC sticker will allow consumers to wave their mobile phones in front of a checkout NFC reader to pay for various goods and services. Blaze was one of the early proponents of mobile payments, and is also one of the first to embrace Near-Field Communication technology, which enables tap-and-pay facility.

The company's chief executive, Michelle Fisher said: "the patent validates the company's NFC sticker technology, which she said has been replicated by others without proper credit".

Fisher commented, "Blaze is not in competition with Google's Nexus NFC phone, or any other NFC phone. We offer consumers an alternative so they do not have to buy a new phone, or wait until more NFC phones are released".

Blaze is said to be working on a text-message-based mobile wallet system that would work with basic mobile phones. The company expects to introduce the feature by the fourth quarter of 2011.

U.S. Bank Launches Wristband for Contactless Payments

U.S. Bank, the fifth largest commercial bank in the United States in terms of assets, has announced the launch of its new contactless VITAband, a light-weight wristband that combines contactless payment technology with emergency contact and medical information.

Equipped with MasterCard's PayPass technology, the VITAband lets customers make purchases by simply tapping their wrist against any PoS that accepts contactless payments. The light-weight wristband features a contactless chip that can be preloaded with funds via an online user account, as well as a VITAnumber, a unique, 8-digit numeric identifier that links the wearer to a customisable Emergency Response Profile that houses the individual's identity and critical medical information. The customisable Emergency Response Profile (ERP) offers medical professionals with quick access to critical medical information in the event of an emergency.

The new device, which was piloted by U.S. Bank employees in multiple states in the second quarter of 2011, was made in partnership with MasterCard Worldwide, Vita Products, Oberthur Technologies and FIS. In addition to contactless payments, the VITAband enables customers to check their account balances, reload associated prepaid accounts and customise their Emergency Response Profiles.

AIB to Replace Laser Cards with Visa Debit Cards

AIB (Allied Irish Banks) has planned to dumb the familiar Laser and Maestro card for the Visa debit card. The bank said, "It would replace the debit cards in the second half of 2012".

The bank's move will pave the way for the lender to introduce contactless payments for small transactions, which will allow Visa Debit holders to pay for purchases of 15-Euros or less by simply holding their card over a contactless reader at certain retail outlets.

There are additional security features in the new card that help prevent card fraud. The card can only be used a certain number of times or for a certain value before a PIN is required. AIB has not yet decided on the Visa cards fees. The bank currently has about 1.4 million debit cards in circulation.

At present, the National Irish Bank will be the only bank operating the Laser debit card.

Cybercrime Expert to Head FBI's Office

The FBI Director Robert Mueller selected David A. Ford as the special agent in charge of the Springfield office. He will head FBI's operations in central and southern Illinois.

Ford has previously served as chief of the agency's cyber intelligence section, where he organised the analysis of cyber terrorism, internet fraud and other high-tech crimes. During his nearly 20-year FBI career, Ford's held posts in the United States and overseas.

The acting special agent in charge of the Springfield office has been Emmerson Buie. The FBI declined to comment as to when Ford will officially take over as Springfield office chief.

Now Get American Express Coupons on Facebook

Last night, American Express, the US-based global financial services company, launched a Facebook application that offers personalised coupons based on a cardholder's likes, interests and other profile information.

With this new service, cardholders simply need to click to add the deals they like to their Amex accounts. For example, if cardholders click on a deal to get $5 back for spending $20 at Whole Foods, they automatically get $5 credited to their Amex statement the next time they charge $20 at the market. Amex says, "credits should appear within three to five days after purchases are made, but may take up to two billing cycles".

It is, however, not clear how personalised the Amex deals will be in the beginning, since the Facebook application is coming with offers from only about 100 national retailers. Amex plans to quickly start adding deals from local merchants in the coming weeks.

Identive Group Acquires polyright SA

Identive Group, Inc. today announced the acquisition of polyright SA, a provider of identity management solutions for the education and healthcare markets based in Sion, Switzerland. The acquisition was made pursuant to an agreement executed on July 18, 2011 between Identive's Multicard AG subsidiary and polyright's co-owners, Securitas AG and the Kudelski Group (SIX: KUD.S).

Founded in 1997 polyright's core competence is the development, installation and maintenance of single-credential, multi-function identity management and cashless payment solutions integrated with third-party systems such as enterprise resource planning or access control. polyright's platform allows integration of such functions as personnel and user management, physical and logical access control, cashless payment, and use of third-party services such as car parking, bicycle/vehicle rental, printing and photocopying and similar applications.

Thierry Gattlen, founder and chief executive officer of polyright, commented, "We are excited to join Identive as we see strong alignment with Identive's market activities around identity management. We believe we can provide additional market opportunities for the company in Switzerland and look forward to the continuation and expansion of our excellent cooperation with the Kudelski and Securitas groups."

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