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BYU-Idaho students spend, spend, spend with their NFC phones

Students taking part in a new trial of micro-SD based NFC payments at Brigham Young University in Idaho have already used their phones to buy everything from candy bars to $1,600 laptops.

BRIGHAM YOUNG: One hundred students are using RFinity's NFC payments solution in Rexburg, Idaho
BRIGHAM YOUNG: One hundred students are using RFinity's NFC payments solution in Rexburg, Idaho

Initial feedback from the newly launched NFC payments trial at BYU-Idaho, first announced in July, indicates that the one hundred university students and faculty taking part in the pilot are more than willing to use their phones to make payments. In fact, they seem to be adopting the idea extremely enthusiastically.

The trial is proving positive enough that other universities are also showing an interest, Steve McCown of RFinity, the company supplying the microSD based NFC solution, told Near Field Communications World. “We are getting noteworthy attention from leaders of other universities who are showing interest in adopting our technology at their institutions.”

“Over 100 BYU-Idaho students and faculty are now using our phone-based payment system to purchase their books, computers, and other items in the university bookstore,” McCown explained. “I have watched RFinity-enabled phones used to purchase anything from candy bars to a semester’s worth of textbooks to Apple computers. The transaction dollar range is from less than $1 to about $1,600 for transactions that I have seen.”

“At the point the pilot was running for a few days, I checked the logs and found out that every pilot participant had been using the system several times to make purchases,” he continued. “When the students are using the system for such expensive purchases, it tells me that they have confidence in our system.

“The pilot is very exciting — and somewhat exhausting as we are all working long hours to ensure the best experience for BYU-Idaho pilot participants,” McCown added. “The user response to our system has been very positive and is very exciting for the students, BYU Idaho and RFinity.”

For the trial, RFinity is combining its patented integration platform, which includes security and communication protocols that provide a flexible infrastructure connecting handsets (or other devices), cash registers, RFinity servers and payment mechanisms such as those used by the BYUI Bookstore, with Giesecke & Devrient’s Mobile Security Card CL, a micro-SD based NFC solution. “We have been working in conjunction with Giesecke & Devrient for some time,” says McCown. “When we became aware of their efforts and how they paralleled some of ours, we decided that a cooperation would be advantageous.”

“RFinity’s platform and G&D’s Mobile Security Card provide a secure environment that is the condition for trustworthy mobile payment transactions,” added Dr Kai Grassie, head of the new business division at G&D.

Several enhancement’s to RFinity’s technology are also planned for the coming months. “One such advancement is the announcement of our ‘Mobile Open Encryption Platform’ that will allow third party developers to build new applications on top of our identification and mobile payment platform,” adds McCown.

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2 comments on this article

  1. Very interesting. This requires a special phones just like other NFC trials, I think. So scalability after trials is an issue as always.

    1. The technology is contained within an NFC-enabled microSD card. This allows NFC to be added to an existing non-NFC phone. In its present form factor, the user's phone only has to have to have a microSD slot. Our intent was to allow users to upgrade their existing phones, rather than making them buy new ones.

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