Feeds

NFC pioneer packs in proximity payments

Bling Nation failed in bring in the bling

Business security measures using SSL

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. ®

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee
Father of the worldwide web is extremely peeved over pay-per-packet-type plans
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
Drag queens: Oh, don't be so bitchy, Facebook! Let us use our stage names
Handbags at dawn over free content ad network's ID policy
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.