First Data partners with Tyfone to bring NFC to the masses

NFC or Near Field Communications in Mobile phones has never gone mainstream due to the very poor adoption by handset makers.  It’s practically very difficult to get hold of a mobile handset supported NFC even for testing forget about retail.  First Data and Tyfon have joined hands to bring NFC to the masses and this move can be a game changer for mobile payments and near field communications.  The have managed to create microSD card with a NFC chip inside and this means that roughly 60% of today phones can become a real mobile wallet when used along with these special memory cards.

Demo of the Sidetap card in use

Now word on pricing on exact availability but it’s expected to be released in the 2nd half of 2010.

Press Release

First Data Collaborates with Tyfone to Offer MicroSD Based Contactless Payment Services

Patented SideTap™  technology leverages MicroSD card with integrated OTA capability to deliver true mobile commerce experience, without losing core memory card functionality

ATLANTA and PORTLAND, Ore. – March 16, 2010 – First Data, a global leader in electronic commerce and payment processing today announced an agreement with Tyfone, a provider of mobile contactless payment and secure mobility solutions. The collaboration will provide SideTap micro secure digital (MicroSD) memory cards equipped with Tyfone’s patented technologies that will transform most mobile phones with a memory slot into 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, analysis forecasts contactless payment transactions via the MicroSD card 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 September 2009 forecast by Juniper Research near-field communications (NFC) contactless payment global gross transaction value is expected to exceed $30 billion by 2012.

“We are delighted to be collaborating with First Data, a payment industry leader committed to innovations in mobile commerce. 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.”

About Tyfone
Tyfone is a neutral infrastructure enabler for cloud computing based mobile services. Tyfone enables the next wave of secure-element-neutral mobile apps that are secure enough to store your Driver’s License, Health Records, Passport, Debit, Pre-paid and Credit Cards.

Tyfone’s u4ia® platform and its companion SideTap™ card is the world’s first patented memory card-based mobile payments solution with integrated secure element, OTA controller and miniature contactless coil for mobile NFC payments. The technology operates in any standard memory card slot and is rapidly gaining market acceptance as a single-strategy approach to mobile contactless payments for any mobile phone. Tyfone and its partners enable a suite of services including Mobile Banking, Mobile Identity Management, Mobile Remote Payments, Mobile Retail Services and Mobile Contactless Payments. To discover why Tyfone is becoming the partner of choice for secure mobile apps to many of the world’s leading organizations, please visit

About NXP

NXP Semiconductors provides High Performance Mixed Signal and Standard Product solutions that leverage its leading RF, Analog, Power, Digital Processing and manufacturing expertise. These innovations are used in a wide range of automotive, industrial, consumer, lighting, medical, computing and identification applications. Headquartered in Europe, the company has about 28,000 employees working in more than 25 countries and posted sales of USD 3.8 billion in 2009. News from NXP is located at

About First Data
First Data powers the global economy by making it easy, fast and secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services using virtually any form of electronic payment. Whether the choice of payment is a gift card, a credit or debit card or a check, First Data securely processes the transaction and harnesses the power of the data to deliver intelligence and insight for millions of merchant locations and thousands of card issuers in 36 countries. For more information, visit

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Author: Varun Krish

Varun Krish is a Mobile Technology Enthusiast and has been blogging about mobile phones since 2005. His current phones include the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge , Apple iPhone 6S Plus & Nexus 5X. You can follow him on Twitter @varunkrish and on Google+ You can also mail Varun Krish