January 21, 2015
Speaking of the technology Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), we have seen its prominent usage in proximity marketing campaigns through beacons but there is lot more to BLE that we think. BLE can find an important place in the future of payments. Contactless payments are on the rise and BLE can certainly be considered as a convenient way to aid in making payments. The next several years should yield some interesting experiences for marketing analysts, merchants, mobile wallet providers and consumers alike. Here are some use cases that show it is time to look upon BLE as a contender in payments:
The South Africa based bank is experimenting with mobile payments services with a beacon-driven mobile app called Accolades. The mobile platform connects retailers to customers through proximity-based services using in-store beacons. From there, the app facilitates a seamless, secure, card-based mobile payments experience in store. In concept, the app provides the product list or menu of the participating store, letting customers select the product and quantity and check it out in their mobile shopping cart without queues. According to Nedbank, the mobile payments concept is a continuation from strides made with its PocketPOS technology, and was built in partnership with app developer Ovations.
UK payments technology specialist Consult Hyperion has unveiled a solution that uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and host card emulation (HCE) to enable both iPhone and Android NFC phone owners to make MasterCard, Visa and other open loop EMV payments at the point of sale. The solution allows the phone to access EMV data over the BLE channel. Once the phone has got that information, it can do the cryptography and it can send back, over BLE, a set of standard response data items which form the other half of the payment transaction. The company is working towards turning the proof-of-concept into a commercially available solution.
Pay with Hailo is a service that uses Apple’s iBeacon technology to let users of the Hailo taxi hailing app pay drivers with their smartphone. Pay with Hailo uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology built into drivers’ and passengers’ iPhones to recognize when a passenger is in a Hailo driver’s vehicle and invite them to connect and pay for their ride via a one-click confirmation. The company provides a seamless payment solution built right into the app and users can register their card on file.
Square has added a feature to its Square Cash app that lets users leverage BLE to make payments to anyone nearby. The app can detect other Cash customers within 250 feet of the sender or recipient. The app also includes the ability to swipe a push notification to approve and reject a payment request. The app also provides a privacy feature which enables customers to choose whether to make themselves visible to others or stay private. The Cash app provides an effective P2P payment platform and only requires your debit card information. This makes it easier for mobile payment enthusiasts to pay each other for tickets, restaurant bills and in many other social scenarios.
Merchants can sign up to accept Bitcoin payments using a terminal supplied by startup Pey that uses a combination of iBeacon, QR code and NFC technology. The current version of the terminal features a BLE beacon provided by Estimote. The iBeacon solution for iOS is a mixture of iBeacon and QR code. For iOS, the company offers a Bitcoin Wallet Launcher and its only function is to recognize iBeacon and launch, immediately, the camera so the user can scan the QR code quickly without having to unlock the phone.
Bank-led payment service Digicash has expanded its QR-based mobile payments platform to include new POS beacons that support NFC, QR and BLE. The Digicash Beacons were first tested in Luxembourg by banks BCEE, Post and BIL at Cora supermarkets, Apple reseller Lineheart and some convenience stores. The service has been integrated with Digicash apps issued by retail banks and funds for purchases made are drawn directly from the customer’s existing bank account using SEPA Credit Transfers.
Businesses across the London district of Brixton were equipped with Bluetooth beacons that allowed residents to make mobile payments using the Brixton Pound, a local currency designed to encourage consumers to spend their money in independent local businesses. The Brixton Pound mobile app, developed by startup Dingo, was made available for iOS device users from the beginning of July last year for use at all the 250 businesses that accepted the local currency. The service offers a mobile pay-by-text version that forms the basis of the new Bluetooth LE service. To use the pay-by-text service, both merchants and customers have to sign up with Brixton Pound and register for an account. Once registered and validated, consumers transfer funds into their Brixton Pound account and can then make a payment in participating stores by sending a customized text to Brixton Pound.