Apple to integrate Japan's FeliCa tap-to-pay standard in next-gen iPhone, report says

Posted:
in iPhone edited August 2016
Apple is reportedly working to release a special iPhone model for the Japanese market that will integrate a specific iteration of Sony-developed FeliCa technology, a longstanding tap-to-pay solution for smartphones.



Citing sources familiar with Apple's plans, Bloomberg reports the company is looking to support FeliCa systems serving public transportation payment terminals. As in other countries, many of Japan's railways and buses accept smart card payments at the gate.

FeliCa was initially rolled out as an RFID chip solution embedded into so-called "smart cards" used in tap-to-pay transactions. A hybrid version developed by Japan's leading cellular provider NTT DoCoMo made its way onto smartphones. Dubbed Mobile FeliCa, or more commonly Osaifu-Keitai (roughly translated as "cellphone wallet") in Japan, the technology allows users to provision multiple FeliCa cards on their device. Accounts can also be recharged directly from an interface on the smartphone.

Apple's integration will presumably use Mobile FeliCa, not the original version, though Bloomberg failed to make the distinction between the two technologies. The report suggests Apple intends to install a Mobile FeliCa chip and supporting hardware into iPhone alongside its own Apple Pay NFC solution.

It should be noted that third-party accessory makers have for years marketed iPhone-compatible FeliCa adaptors, such as Panasonic's Osaifu-Keitai jacket seen above.

As one of the leading tap-to-pay solutions in Japan, FeliCa is an accepted mode of payment at many brick-and-mortar shops, as well as vending machines, though Apple is focusing on transit cards based on the standard like those offered by Suica and Pasmo. The company is, however, in talks to with a major financial institution to enable commercial transactions, the report said.

Support could show up in this year's iPhone revamp expected to debut in September, though integration might be pushed back as discussions with transit card providers are ongoing.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    I wonder if this portends anything re the Australian fuss over NFC access?
    edited August 2016
  • Reply 2 of 11
    lolliverlolliver Posts: 351member
    jfc1138 said:
    I wonder if this portends anything re the Australian fuss over NFC access?

    Why would this have anything to do with the banking sector in Australia? This is about the rumoured inclusion of additional technology in the iPhone for the Japanese market to cater to public transport and potentially payments. The article clearly states that Apple is rumoured to be including this alongside NFC. This is completely unrelated to negotiations with the banks in Australia to support ApplePay.
    edited August 2016 sennen
  • Reply 3 of 11
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,852member
    I doubt the FeliCa solution contains enough information for banking purposes. Eg no tokenisation.  This is for transport and kiosk transactions.
    lolliver
  • Reply 4 of 11
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,142member
    jfc1138 said:
    I wonder if this portends anything re the Australian fuss over NFC access?
    If anything it makes the Banks case weaker.

    After all this system exists in Japan because someone built it. Australian Banks are trying to argue for something they haven't bothered to make before now although it was possible. Why would they change their behaviour now and build a "consumer choice" product when they haven't in the past. Nothing about Apple giving them access really changes the fact they are slow to adopt tech and mostly have to it forced on them.

    Apple can point to this and say we work with others where other have real things not just ideas.
    edited August 2016
  • Reply 5 of 11
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    FeliCa is similar in function to ApplePay: but Apple is accommodating it, so why not accommodate the Australian Banks with a similar side by side accommodation, made even easier as its not additional hardware but simply software access to the iPhone's NFC chip. Or Apple could have insisted the Japanese change over their FeliCa terminals to ApplePay compatibility?

    Apple ls making a localized solution. Seems quite similar to Australia to me: paying for a train ride or paying for groceries: still "paying". 
    edited August 2016
  • Reply 6 of 11
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,142member
    jfc1138 said:
    FeliCa is similar in function to ApplePay: but Apple is accommodating it, so why not accommodate the Australian Banks with a similar side by side accommodation, made even easier as its not additional hardware but simply software access. Or Apple could have insisted the Japanese change over their FeliCa terminals to ApplePay compatibility?

    Apple ls making a localized solution. Seems quite similar to Australia to me: paying for a train ride or paying for groceries: still "paying". 
    In the last few years the banks have reissued all credit and debt cards to comply with chip and pin mandate. In the same period our major cities have finally introduced electronic ticketing. They could have made it so your new smart debt card was your train ticket in any city in Australia. So the opportunity for the banks to build their own payment system and get it adopted was say 4 years ago.

    If they didn't even try to develop a system when the opportunity was ripe, why is there any reason to believe they really have any interest now?
    lollivermike1badmonk
  • Reply 7 of 11
    crowleycrowley Posts: 6,019member
    jfc1138 said:
    FeliCa is similar in function to ApplePay: but Apple is accommodating it, so why not accommodate the Australian Banks with a similar side by side accommodation, made even easier as its not additional hardware but simply software access to the iPhone's NFC chip. Or Apple could have insisted the Japanese change over their FeliCa terminals to ApplePay compatibility?

    Apple ls making a localized solution. Seems quite similar to Australia to me: paying for a train ride or paying for groceries: still "paying". 
    This isn't so much a localisation issue as a rather different question of compatibility.

    Apple is currently excluded from Japan's public transportation because Japan has an already established technology solution.  Apple could try and push a generic contactless solution and compete with FeliCa, but that'd be a long drawn out battle with little consumer benefit. 

    Australia doesn't have any such incompatible solutions for mobile payments, the banks there just want to bypass ApplePay and control payment via their own security to achieve the same ends.  But in allowing them to do that, Apple would be compromising Apple's security by surrendering access to the NFC chip.
    JanNLairbubblelolliverlostkiwibadmonk
  • Reply 8 of 11
    ksecksec Posts: 1,567member
    A lot of media missing what FeliCa is all about, it is not only Japan, but a lot of South East Asia along with some small part of the world are using it for Transportation and payment system. 
    badmonk
  • Reply 9 of 11
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    mattinoz said:
    jfc1138 said:
    I wonder if this portends anything re the Australian fuss over NFC access?
    If anything it makes the Banks case weaker.

    After all this system exists in Japan because someone built it. Australian Banks are trying to argue for something they haven't bothered to make before now although it was possible. Why would they change their behaviour now and build a "consumer choice" product when they haven't in the past. Nothing about Apple giving them access really changes the fact they are slow to adopt tech and mostly have to it forced on them.

    Apple can point to this and say we work with others where other have real things not just ideas.
    What are you talking about?  Australian banks were trialing NFC payments in 2008.  Australian banks had chip-and-pin starting in 2001.  They have offered their own Android based tokenized NFC payment apps since at least last year and which have had AU$100 B worth of transactions processed through them.  So in what way are Australian banks slow to adopt new technologies?  CBA have invested in an Australian world-leading quantum computing start-up so as to be at the forefront of developments in security and to guard against the threat this tech poses.  I'd call that bleeding-edge.

  • Reply 10 of 11
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    crowley said:

    Australia doesn't have any such incompatible solutions for mobile payments, the banks there just want to bypass ApplePay and control payment via their own security to achieve the same ends.  But in allowing them to do that, Apple would be compromising Apple's security by surrendering access to the NFC chip.
    I would welcome someone explaining exactly how allowing a third party app to use the NFC systems in an iPhone would compromise Apple's security.
  • Reply 11 of 11
    And now there's new meaning to the expression! 
    "Buy, FeliCa"
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