Mutual payments made easier with ultra-broadband

The new NEAR payment method, developed by ING and NXP, has the wind behind it. Young people in particular have become accustomed to contactless payments.

Thijs Janssen, head of Chaos ING Factory, believes that it will soon become completely normal to make mutual payments by keeping phones close to each other. ‘A big advantage over existing peer-to-peer methods like Tikkie is that users no longer have to delete their personal data such as an email address or a phone number. Ultra-wideband technology (UWB) ensures that payment goes securely to the right person. ‘

To transfer money, the payer and payee must have a Samsung phone with a built-in UWB chip. They must also have both the ING banking app and the new payment method active in their smartphones.

In the ING app, you first select the person in your physical vicinity that you want to pay. By pointing the phone at the right person you will see a button with the initials on the receiver. To avoid mistakes, it is also stated at what distance this person is at. It could be acquaintances that you have dealt with in the past or strangers.

You then identify yourself and ask the recipient to share information. When the recipient presses the share button, their name and IBAN are securely transmitted via UWB. Then enter the amount and confirm the transaction. The recipient sees the amount received in his transaction summary. The system actually functions as a normal transfer, where the UWB technology ensures that the missing data is filled in.

In a few seconds

A demonstration shows that you can pay in seconds. You do not need a separate app. You also do not have to ask for a username, email address or phone number. Thijs Janssen calls speed and convenience the most important advantages. Unlike paying via a QR code, it is not necessary to turn on the phone’s camera. ING expects that this payment solution will be used mainly for ad hoc transactions. Think about shopping for goods between private individuals, buying things at a flea market, refunding a round in the catering business or donating money.

Success depends in part on the penetration rate of smartphones with UWB. Samsung is the first manufacturer that ING and NXP are collaborating with. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra was the first to receive the UWB, followed by the Galaxy S21 + and S21 Ultra. It is expected that UWB will gradually become mainstream and eventually even end up in the budget class. Other manufacturers will also follow. The same technology is also in Apple. If this manufacturer embraces peer-to-peer payment through UWB, it would be a great incentive.

snare tech talent

In the coming years, ING and NXP will show that this method of contactless payment offers great benefits. If the internal pilot proceeds satisfactorily, it will be investigated how customers can also be actively involved in further development. ING is also open to cooperation with other parties. Daniël Citroen, who maintains customer contacts with technology companies for ING, says: ‘We want to show that it is possible. It would be nice if we could set the standard in this area. ‘ Co-creation is a top priority at ING.

Thijs Janssen does not yet see a real revenue model, but by developing innovations, ING remains relevant to its customers. Moreover, by being at the forefront of this type of technology, ING as an employer hopes to make it easier to attract technological talent. ING Factory in Amsterdam Zuidoost is a workshop where five to six prototypes of customer and payment innovations are developed each year.

Discard payment terminals

“UWB extends far beyond Bluetooth, while the margin of error is significantly smaller”

As a manufacturer of the UWB chip, NXP is also enthusiastic about the possibilities. Steve Owen, executive vice president at NXP, sees opportunities to make this new payment method suitable for worldwide use with ING and Samsung. Ultra-wideband is a wireless technology that relies on radio waves, with which the distance to objects can be measured very accurately. UWB goes far beyond Bluetooth, while the margin of error is significantly smaller.

The demo in Amsterdam showed how well UWB can target people. Under certain circumstances, UWB bridges over several 10 meters with a placement determination that is accurate to 10 cm. At shorter distances, the UWB can achieve 1.5 cm accuracy.

Owen: ‘The first application was a lift pass. The same technology is also used in pass chips. ‘ The UWB chip can also use the security features of the phone that serve for NFC payments. This makes transactions completely secure. Owen: ‘So it’s not just software that provides security, but also a special chip for security.’

NXP has been working on UWB technology since the mid-1990s. The chip manufacturer from Eindhoven is gradually experiencing an increase in the number of ‘use cases’. Car manufacturers such as BMW, Audi and Ford have embraced this technology. In a number of luxury models, the digital ‘smart key’ replaces the classic car key. Owen sees further applications in access to buildings and public transportation. Consumers will become more and more familiar with this. “In the long run, we can also drop the payment terminals,” Owen says.

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