Payments at the International Consumer Electronics Show
This year’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) hosted more than 170,000 attendees browsing among more than 3,600 exhibits during the four-day event. CES is always a notable showcase of innovative new technology. Products on display this year ranged from drones to 3D printers. Payments were not a primary focus, but several notable innovations were on display at the conference.
Wearables including “smart watches” were a hot topic of interest. While the industry’s focus was more around such watches interfacing with your smartphone or controlling other devices in the connected home (e.g., thermometers, coffee makers), the ability to make NFC payments from a smart watch was on display from a company called LAKS. It is also expected that the forthcoming Apple Watch will support Apple Pay when paired with an iPhone.
LoopPay, a mobile wallet and mobile payment solution provider showed off its LoopPay Card and other products. LoopPay relies on magnetic secure transmission (MST) technology to beam card data over a short distance to the payment card terminal. LoopPay positions itself as an NFC alternative that can be used at any merchant. Rumors at CES that Samsung was likely to partner with LoopPay were confirmed when Samsung announced it would acquire the company. Of course, Samsung went a step further this week and announced Samsung Pay at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
As mobile payments grow, the need for new security tools is becoming apparent. Biometrics such as iris scanning and facial recognition could be part of the next wave of security measures for making payments with a mobile device, and companies like Hoyas Labs, HyprKey, and NXT-ID showed off their biometric security tools for mobile wallets and bank apps. Dynamics Inc., an intelligent powered payment card manufacturer with investments from MasterCard, CIBC, Adams Capital Management and Bain Capital Ventures also presented its interactive payment cards. These cards can encode a unique security code on their magnetic stripe or chip for each in-store purchase and display a unique card verification code on their digital display for online transactions.
Lastly, the Bitcoin industry made a big splash at the conference in “The World of Bitcoin” exhibit, which featured Bitpay and 9 other virtual currency companies. Cryptocurrencies and distributed ledger technology were also discussed by other companies, and some (e.g., HyprKey) specifically pointed out opportunities for their products to integrate with Bitcoin apps.
All in all, payments did not take center stage at the International Consumer Electronics Show–but there were still many payments innovations on display, and the pace of payments-related activity has been brisk in the first quarter of 2015.
For more information, please contact Brian Rutland, Associate, specializing in Commercial Payments, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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