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Softbank to Release NFC Mobile Payments Stickers for iPhone 4

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While Apple has expressed interest in near field communications (NFC), the short-range wireless technology used for such applications as "tap and go" credit and debit card payments and public transportation fare payments, the company has obviously yet to deploy the technology in its iPhone line.

But as picked up by Engadget, Japanese carrier Softbank is taking steps to bring limited NFC functionality to the iPhone in the form of NFC "seals" or stickers, satisfying the demands of customers in a country where NFC has seen strong adoption.
Japanese carrier Softbank has responded to complaints about the iPhone 4's NFC deficit -- the FeliCa payment system is pretty popular over in the land of sumo, sushi and sun-rising -- by introducing a new "seal" for the back of Apple's latest and greatest. It sticks on, covering almost the entire rear, but is apparently thin enough not to get in the way of using one of Apple's own Bumpers alongside it.
According to the specifications detailed in the Softbank press release, the sticker is made of polyurethane, weighs 14 grams (0.5 ounces), and covers the entire back of the device with the exception of the camera area. Stickers for three different mobile payment services will be available beginning in February and will be priced at about $36.

As Engadget notes, the sticker doesn't appear to interact with the iPhone in any way, simply acting as a traditional dumb NFC terminal, but will allow users of some of the most common mobile payments solutions in Japan to ensure that they have their payment methods as long as they have their iPhones in their pockets.

Article Link: Softbank to Release NFC Mobile Payments Stickers for iPhone 4
 

kas23

macrumors 603
Oct 28, 2007
5,628
288
It seems like Japan is really pushing Apple to update the iPhone's capabilities, like it's missing a bunch of functions that are standard on most other phones.
 
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EricNau

Moderator emeritus
Apr 27, 2005
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San Francisco, CA
For quite some time my Citi MasterCard has offered similar stickers (called Payment Tags) that "adhere to the back of your mobile device." They may not be shaped like the iPhone, but I imagine they work exactly the same.
 
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SBlue1

macrumors 68000
Oct 17, 2008
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interesting. not my kind of preferred payment method but if it is popular over there why not.
 
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MacDawg

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Mar 20, 2004
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I don't see much value to this at all if they don't interact with the phone at all. Might as well be another keychain card like my Kroger Plus card.
 
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Fraaaa

macrumors 65816
Mar 22, 2010
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London, UK
Sorry, I don't get this: why bother with a sticker on the phone when one can have just a normal card.

I would understand if the NFC works from the phone, but use the phone just because has a sticker then doesn't make much sense to me...
 
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cvaldes

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Dec 14, 2006
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Sorry, I don't get this: why bother with a sticker on the phone when one can have just a normal card.

I would understand if the NFC works from the phone, but use the phone just because has a sticker then doesn't make much sense to me...
Most people keep their phone handy. It's easier to swipe a phone over a sensor than fumble around with wallets and purses for a card that looks like ten other cards.

The "Osaifu keitai" (literally "wallet phone") system has been in full swing in Japan for over five years. Those guys are way ahead of Americans in this regard. They use them for groceries, transit passes, movie tickets, sports and music events, loyalty cards, etc.

Far more convenient than a card.
 
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beebler

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Japanese use cards for tap and go payments. The transportation card can be used at stores and sending machines too, you really have to experience it to understand why it's as great as it is.

This is great. The iPhone had gotten so mich more poplar in Japan under Softbank, might as well give them a better package for Japanese users.
 
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shartypants

macrumors 6502a
Jul 27, 2010
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I really liked using that payment method when I lived in Japan, just a simple swipe. Although not ideal the way it attaches to the iPhone, I would definitely use that "seal" if I was still living there. I hope Apple incorporates the NFC chip in the next iPhone, it might help the adoption of such technology here in the US.
 
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Jay42

macrumors 65816
Jul 14, 2005
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I would love to be able to pay for things by waving my iPhone and then have it keep track of receipts, transactions history, coupons, returns, bill payments and budgets. This would be amazing - paperless wallet...
 
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mad-dog-one

macrumors 6502
Aug 14, 2009
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Is this a new way to catch a thief and recover a stolen iPhone? You steal my phone, you steal my payment sticker. Use the sticker and trigger authorities that you have my property that has been reported stolen. Buy an iPhone on eBay amay get a stolen payment stickfor as part of the deal. How permanent are these stickers?
 
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MacDawg

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Mar 20, 2004
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I would love to be able to pay for things by waving my iPhone and then have it keep track of receipts, transactions history, coupons, returns, bill payments and budgets. This would be amazing - paperless wallet...

But this solution doesn't interact with the phone at all
Nothing more than a debit card taped to the back of your phone
 
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Xtremehkr

macrumors 68000
Jul 4, 2004
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"As Engadget notes, the sticker doesn't appear to interact with the iPhone in any way, simply acting as a traditional dumb NFC terminal, but will allow users of some of the most common mobile payments solutions in Japan to ensure that they have their payment methods as long as they have their iPhones in their pockets."

Less 'made for the iPhone' and more 'you can stick an iPhone to it.'

You could probably stick the thing to a book and it would work the same.

I would feel safer if it did interact with my iPhone and took steps to insure that someone else isn't making purchases with it.
 
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GQB

macrumors 65816
Sep 26, 2007
1,196
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It seems like Japan is really pushing Apple to update the iPhone's capabilities, like it's missing a bunch of functions that are standard on most other phones.

"missing A function" <> "missing a bunch of functions".

The meme about how Japan thinks the iPhone is SO inferior to the feature-heavy crap phones they've been using has passed its expiration date.
 
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GQB

macrumors 65816
Sep 26, 2007
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interesting. not my kind of preferred payment method but if it is popular over there why not.

At the moment, maybe. You can't exactly use the feature everywhere.
But within 5 years, carrying and swiping stacks of plastic will seem as quaint as writing checks.
 
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MacDawg

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At the moment, maybe. You can't exactly use the feature everywhere.
But within 5 years, carrying and swiping stacks of plastic will seem as quaint as writing checks.

Only when it interfaces with the phone itself and the data/apps on the phone
As it stands now, it is hardly a breakthrough
 
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Consultant

macrumors G5
Jun 27, 2007
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I see tons of problems, recovery for one.

Well, about "interaction" with phone. There could be an App that limits how much money the payment sticker can use in a day, etc.
 
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Fraaaa

macrumors 65816
Mar 22, 2010
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London, UK
Most people keep their phone handy. It's easier to swipe a phone over a sensor than fumble around with wallets and purses for a card that looks like ten other cards.

The "Osaifu keitai" (literally "wallet phone") system has been in full swing in Japan for over five years. Those guys are way ahead of Americans in this regard. They use them for groceries, transit passes, movie tickets, sports and music events, loyalty cards, etc.

Far more convenient than a card.

I really liked using that payment method when I lived in Japan, just a simple swipe. Although not ideal the way it attaches to the iPhone, I would definitely use that "seal" if I was still living there. I hope Apple incorporates the NFC chip in the next iPhone, it might help the adoption of such technology here in the US.

Ok, but what about security? It's just a tap and done method?

In UK I got use to my dabit card for any payment, even for 40p bag of M&M's but I do use my PIN, those things don't use any, am I right?
 
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cvaldes

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Dec 14, 2006
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Ok, but what about security? It's just a tap and done method?

In UK I got use to my dabit card for any payment, even for 40p bag of M&M's but I do use my PIN, those things don't use any, am I right?
Depends on the vendor, but often just a simple swipe. You really have to think of your phone as a wallet, a valuable asset. If you lose your phone, it's the equivalent of losing a wallet full of cash and credit cards: you contact the various vendors to report the phone as missing to disable use of the payment system.

Note that NFC contactless payment systems here in the States are often a simple swipe as well, no PIN (e.g., Clipper Card, the regional transit pass in the SF Bay Area). As a transit pass, you really don't want to be typing in a PIN.

Also, some small-denomination credit card transactions (typically less than $20) are now going through without a signature.

If you are in the habit of losing your phone, this system is not for you. If you guard your phone like you guard your wallet or house keys, this might be a convenience. It works for a hundred million Japanese.
 
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RichTF

macrumors regular
Nov 11, 2007
196
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London, UK
Ok, but what about security? It's just a tap and done method?

In UK I got use to my dabit card for any payment, even for 40p bag of M&M's but I do use my PIN, those things don't use any, am I right?

We do already have these in the UK, but they're only just gaining popularity. Both Visa "WavePay" and a MasterCard equivalent work without a PIN. It's only for payments of £20 or less, and any misuse from theft etc. is guaranteed by the credit card company (i.e.: they will cover all losses, as long as you report it missing as soon as you find out).

I use it all the time at Pret, works great! There's also Oyster on the London Underground of course, that's been working well for years now.

Would be great to have them both on my iPhone though!
 
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ShiftyPig

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Aug 24, 2008
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Not sure why on earth this has caught on - basically you're letting someone steal your credit card in a crowded space like a subway train with nothing but a $30 reader.
 
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svalentine

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Apr 29, 2007
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Most Japanese phones here stream live TV over the air aswelll. In some regards just a regular Japanese phone is more advanced than an iPhone.
 
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JAT

macrumors 603
Dec 31, 2001
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Mpls, MN
Most people keep their phone handy. It's easier to swipe a phone over a sensor than fumble around with wallets and purses for a card that looks like ten other cards.

The "Osaifu keitai" (literally "wallet phone") system has been in full swing in Japan for over five years. Those guys are way ahead of Americans in this regard. They use them for groceries, transit passes, movie tickets, sports and music events, loyalty cards, etc.

Far more convenient than a card.
They should just surgically attach it to their hands. Far more convenient than a phone.
Also, some small-denomination credit card transactions (typically less than $20) are now going through without a signature.
$50 now at local grocery stores, used to be $25. Still around $20-25 at McDonalds and many other places.
 
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cvaldes

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Dec 14, 2006
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Not sure why on earth this has caught on - basically you're letting someone steal your credit card in a crowded space like a subway train with nothing but a $30 reader.
It has caught on because it is being properly and safely implemented in Japan. You still need to authorize the initial payment setup with the vendor. Many people there have accepted the risk level as acceptable.

Driving an automobile is one of the most dangerous things a typical American adult can do, yet have you accepted that risk for convenience of having your own personal transportation method? Same deal.

You are not forced to use it. You can still pay cash. You can still pay with a credit card.
 
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