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Japan mobe operators muscle in on NFC tap-cash

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Japan's three dominant mobile operators – DoCoMo, KDDI and Softbank – have banded together to ensure customers can transition from the proprietary FeliCa to the standard NFC payments.

The move apes that of operators around the world, who have realised that if they're going to prevent Google – and perhaps Apple – from dominating mobile payments, then they're going to have to provide cross-operator standards for companies interested in developing NFC applications.

US operators call their consortium ISIS, while the UK operators are still trying to come up with a moniker, the Japanese have settled on "Japan Mobile NFC Consortium".

So when a bank decides to deploy a phone-based version of its credit card it only has to create one app which can then be distributed to any network operator, just as Japanese banks can already do with the FeliCa, only compatible with the growing Near Field Communications standard.

Google is already handling application distribution to its (NFC) Android handsets, supporting applications from Visa and MasterCard in its Google Wallet though so far only Google itself, and Citibank, have created suitable applications.

FeliCa is still worthy of attention, as it already supports a range of other applications which are likely to find their way into the NFC ecosystem - airline boarding passes and loyalty schemes. These are the application from which operators hope to make money, having largely given up trying to collect a percentage of every transaction. ®

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