Feeds

Visa and BofA plot operatorless NFC

Hitting New York next month

The Power of One Infographic

Bank of America and Visa will be running trials of NFC technology next month but the network operators won't be involved this time, as companies sidestep the traditional process.

The trials will use NFC circuits built into MicroSD cards that can be slotted into a phone or a specially-equipped iPhone case to provide secure storage and radio communications without being dependent on the network operator or the phone's manufacturer.

Previous attempts to get Near Field Communications into mobile phones have depended on the manufacturer's compliance and, as network operators pay for the phones, on the operator's largess. That works in Japan where the operator is also the bank and owns the payment system, but elsewhere the conservative nature of operators has stymied the technology.

Bypassing the operator/manufacturer means retrofitting handsets with radio circuits and secure storage. Stickers can provide some of the functionality, but not full NFC (where the chip is both tag and reader). Such solutions can't communicate with the phone's screen either.

Removable storage should work, but being sandwiched between the battery and motherboard isn't ideal for radio propagation. China Mobile gets around that problem by dropping NFC-compliance and upping the transmission power, but that option is only available to the largest of companies.

The traditional positioning of the removable memory has changed lately - modern handsets have a MicroSD slot positioned on the back, under a radio-transparent plastic cover, so getting a signal out isn't such an issue. Smartphones also allow third parties to add applications, without having to work with the network operator.

American operators are waking up to NFC, with Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Discover working together to create a proximity-payment standard, but if Visa and the Bank of America can cut the operator out of the loop that may be redundant before it's launched.

So these trials are a big deal for an industry struggling to work out who owns the phone you thought was yours. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
Orange spent weekend spamming customers with TXTs
Zero, not infinity, is the Magic Number customers want
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
NBN Co execs: No FTTN product until 2015
Faster? Not yet. Cheaper? No data
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.