Feeds

NFC pioneer packs in proximity payments

Bling Nation failed in bring in the bling

Boost IT visibility and business value

Having failed to find a business model that worked, the pioneering proximity payment company Bling Nation has stopped processing payments – although it claims the move is temporary while it finds a workable business model.

The pay-by-sticker system was launched in 2009, striking deals with community banks and under cutting credit card processing fees, but despite its involvement in trials by Facebook and PayPal, American Banker tells us that the company just couldn't make enough money and has suspended services while it thinks over its business model.

Bling Nation was interesting in that it eschewed the overwhelming security normally applied to new payment systems, focusing instead on simplicity and usability. A Bling tag is just a sticker, often applied to the back of a cellphone, which responds with a serial number when queried by a custom reader that Bling nation supplied to traders who signed up to the scheme.

The number isn't encrypted, and as the Bling tag is RFID (rather than the cryptographically-secured NFC standard) it is vulnerable to interception and various forms of attack. But Bling reckoned the small-value transactions possible on the pre-paid tag made such an attack unlikely, and sure enough it's not lack of security which has downed Bling.

"We found it was easier to kind of pause and fix [our business model] than try to tweak and fix," the company told American Banker, declining to explain what kind of fix might work.

The company's last attempt to bump revenue, by introducing a Facebook-connected loyalty scheme called FanConnect, fell flat when the merchants declined to get involved: "They wanted to start charging for a loyalty type programme" one of those merchants told American Banker, continuing: "I didn't need to pay them ... for that because I already had my own loyalty program."

FanConnect was later made optional, but the reluctance of merchants to pay someone else to run their loyalty scheme is bad news for some other players who have aspirations in the same space. ®

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
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.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
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.