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First Data, Tyfone Partner for MicroSD-based Mobile Payments

First Data Corporation has announced an agreement with Tyfone to provide SideTap micro secure digital (MicroSD) memory cards equipped with Tyfone’s patented technologies to enable most mobile phones with a memory slot to function as a mobile contactless payment device.

Unlike solutions that are tied to specific merchants or financial institutions, the MicroSD card powered by Tyfone technology lets the card work like an actual mobile “wallet.” The card can contain financial information and secure identification from multiple sources, such as specific retailers or financial institutions in both open-loop and closed-loop scenarios.

SideTap card’s onboard controller that manages over-the-air (OTA) access in conjunction with the u4ia® (pronounced euphoria) mobility platform is fully expandable, allowing consumers to add new payment and identity options, creating a true mobile wallet that is as flexible as the card provider would like it to be. Through this agreement, First Data will provide merchants and financial institutions with Tyfone’s patented SideTap secure memory card and u4ia mobility platform for OTA life cycle management.

The SideTap card can retain memory card functions, so consumers can continue to utilize the card as they normally would, to store photos, videos, music, documents, or other files. An embedded SmartMX security chip from NXP Semiconductors is safeguarding all transactions operated on the MicroSD card.

“The move to contactless payments is gaining traction and First Data continues to play a pivotal role in the development of this evolving technology. Consumers have a strong preference for such technology and merchants are using contactless payments to reduce waiting times, increase customer loyalty, and boost sales,” said Dom Morea, First Data division manager of Mobile Commerce Solutions. “First Data chose Tyfone’s SideTap Memory Card because it best serves the needs of consumers who want to use contactless payment options with over the air access, but still want to retain the memory card functionality of their MicroSD card. We are excited to partner with Tyfone and bring this technology to consumers in the second half of 2010.”

Over the next two to three years, analysts forecast contactless payment transactions via MicroSD technology will be used by more than 20 million people in North America alone, at thousands of contactless payment terminals already in place. According to a Sept. 2009 forecast by Juniper Research, near-field communications (NFC) contactless payment global gross transaction value is expected to exceed $30 billion by 2012.

“With over 60% of the mobile phones being sold today with memory slots, memory cards are widely used in the mobile eco-system, making it an ideal form factor for issuers to add contactless payment. However, consumers are unlikely to swap between memory card for payment and storage in their phones. So our SideTap cards integrate storage and contactless payments in the same memory card to enhance consumer’s experience,” said Dr. Siva Narendra, chief technology officer at Tyfone. “Mobile phone users are familiar with memory cards, many of which are bought directly from their mobile network operators. Tyfone in collaboration with First Data and NXP provides a win-win-win for the consumer, issuer, and the mobile network operator.”

“The promise of MicroSD card-powered technology to drive contactless payments is profound, with the ability to very quickly enable mobile transactions for businesses and their customers,” said Henri Ardevol, general manager, Secure Transactions at NXP. “Our partnership with First Data and Tyfone is an exhibit of the kind of innovative technology that will bring significant benefits for consumers as well as the key stakeholders such as banks, transportation companies, mobile network operators and merchants.”

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