New NFC Pay Readers for J Mups and CardNet

New NFC Pay / EMV contactless capable readers are being deployed on J Mups systems along with the necessary backend support for VISA / Mastercard / American Express / J Speedy EMV contactless transactions. The flaky old FeliCa only but Apple Pay Suica Express Card dumb JREM readers are being swapped out with ultra reliable Panasonic JT R550CR units.

The finicky UT1-Neo readers used by CardNet systems will also be gradually replaced with new EMV capable UT-X10 readers with the necessary EMV backend support that CardNet announced back in 2015. The current installed base of UT1-Neo readers is 200,000. Hopefully the migration to the new NFC Pay capable devices will not take too long.

J Mups and CardNet are very popular payment systems for smaller Japanese retailers and shops.

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iPhone X Suica問題Q&A交換ガイド

1️⃣ iPhone X Suica Problem Q&A Exchange Guide
2️⃣ iPhone X Suica問題Q&A交換ガイド (Japanese)
3️⃣ Apple Denial and iPhone X Users
4️⃣ iPhone X Suica Problem Index

This is a Japanese version of the iPhone X Suica Problem Q&A Exchange Guide
*このガイドは英語版から翻訳したものです(-.-;)
基本

Q: iPhone X Suica 問題は何ですか?
A: iPhone X Suica問題はNFCハードウェアの不具合で、不具合のパタンは:平均3回に1回が端末側にエラーが発生される、2発目のNFCが問題なく通る、全体のNFCパフォマンスが鈍いという特徴です。

以下読者から寄れられたiPhone X生産集計情報を見ると、2018年4月までのiPhone Xの生産した台数にNFC不具合があります…が、2018年15週目からNFC改善されているiPhone Xが生産されている。改善されたNFC問題のないiPhone XはRevision B iPhone Xの名前をつけた。Rev-B iPhone Xを手に入った読者によるとNFCパフォマンスがiOSバーションと一切関係なくiPhone 7・iPhone 8と同じレベルで、パフォマンスの差がすぐ分かる特徴です。

iPhone X 生産 集計

iPhone X Production Tally 2018-10-6
Reader Feedback iPhone X Production Tally (as of 2018-10-6) : A simple tally of good/bad iPhone X devices and manufacture dates reported by readers to track production switchover from problem iPhone X devices to Revision B iPhone X devices. All iPhone X devices were running iOS 11.x and include both JP and international iPhone X models.

**2018年15週目からはRev-B iPhone Xへ切り替えのようです。

Q: 大きな問題ですか?
A: Yahoo ジャバンやGoogle検索する際、iPhone X Suica問題関連キーワード入力補助がよく出ますので、多くな方々が検索しているようです。

Q: なぜiPhone Xだけの問題なのか?
A:  iPhone 8・iPhone Xが同じNFCチップが搭載されているが、8よりXのロジックボード構成がかなり複雑で、ロジックボード上のRF(高周波)ルーティング問題、アンテナのスペック問題、他のコンポーネントとの相互作用、など考えられます。

Q: 日本だけの問題ですか?
A: いいえ、中国でApple Pay 交通系 IC カード(北京と上海)のユザーが同じiPhone X NFC問題を報告している、アメリカでも iPhone X ユーザーがこのブログを見てから問題を気づいてる。自分の2018年1月製造した「Suica 問題あり」のiPhone Xが米国ではApple Pay使用する際同じiPhone XのNFCエラーが発生しているので、2018年4月以前生産iPhone X台数がこのSuica・NFC問題が抱えていると見ています。

Q: なぜ日本外のiPhone Xユーザーがこの問題を意識しないのか
A: これはApple Pay Suica エクスプレスカードおよびFeliCa環境が関係している。 日本のレジ・POS・交通の決済インフラが高性能環境で、iPhone X Suica問題が目立つので分かりやすい。 欧米ではエクスプレスカード使用が無く、レジ・POS・交通の決済インフラが悪いので、通常のApple Pay使用で目立つことなく分かりにくいです。

THE iPhone X交換チャーレンジ
Q: iPhone X Suica問題確認方法は?
A: iPhone X Suica 問題発生している場合、iPhone Xシリアル番号をコピーし、ここにペイスト。2018年4月以前生産した場合、NFCハードウェア不具合ありのiPhone Xです。

Q: 「Suica問題あり」iPhone Xの交換方法は?
A: 簡単ではありません、時間とねばり強い交渉が必要。Appleサポート内部がiPhone X Suica問題を認めているが、公式に認めないながらも、交換には応じるという対応をすることです。ただし交換条件は初期化してダメだったら交換する。

初期化してもiPhone X Suica問題が直らないことをAppleサポートに説明してください。 Appleサポート係がiPhone Xを交換してもSuica問題を解決保証がないと説明します。 確認した上「交換をお願いします」と回答して下さい。

AppleサポートがiPhone Xを交換手続きし、交換方法は二つ:Genius Barで交換するか、または在宅自己交換修理する。iPhone Xハードウェア診断テストが行い、「問題ない」という結果が出ますが、確認した上「交換をお願いします」と回答して下さい。

最後に新しいiPhone Xのシリアル番号をチェック、2018年4月以降生産したことを確認して下さい。

お疲れ様でございます。

Q: AppleiPhone XSuica問題を内部では把握しているのでiPhone 8 ロジックボード交換プログラムのような修理プログラムを実施しますか。
A: 可能性が低いと思います。問題ありのiPhone X台数が多く、Apple Payユザー数が比較的少なく、欧米ユーザーやITジャーナリストなどがiPhone X Suica問題に対するの関心が薄い。iPhone 6sの突然シャットダウン問題・電池問題と同じレベルな騒ぎがない限り、Appleが前向きにならないと思います。

2019-4-6更新

Contactless Payments White Paper

The Secure Technology Alliance White Paper Contactless Payments: Proposed Implementation Recommendations is an interesting read, not only for what it says but for finding out what’s on the collective mind of the credit card industry.

Here is a quick look…
<with comments>

About the Secure Technology Alliance
The Secure Technology Alliance is a not-for-profit, multi-industry association working to stimulate the understanding, adoption and widespread application of secure solutions, including smart cards, embedded chip technology, and related hardware and software across a variety of markets including authentication, commerce and Internet of Things (IoT)

<forget all the other shit, Secure Technology Alliance is a credit card EMV promotion society>

2.2 Contactless Acceptance Terminal Considerations
Contactless payments are not new. Contactless payments relying on magnetic stripe data (MSD) have been available since 2005. However, as the U.S. transitions to EMV, some payment networks are no longer recommending contactless MSD solutions. Moreover, some EMV contactless cards are being deployed without contactless MSD support, which can cause interoperability issues or cause a transaction to be terminated and processed using the EMV chip or magnetic stripe.

<contactless MSD is a crappy half-assed stopgap standing in the way of progress that nobody uses except Samsung Pay, get rid of it already>

2.2.4 Recommendations Figure 1. Enabling a Contactless Terminal at the Checkout

• Contactless terminals should be customer-facing
<duh>

• Customers should not need to tell cashiers how they intend to pay
<in a perfect world NFC is EMV contactless exclusively without complications from annoying FeliCa or MIFARE and credit card companies are the de facto treasury departments for all advanced nations of the world>

• The contactless terminal should always be switched on and ready to use; the cashier should not need to switch it on
<WTF, this is a recommendation?>

• The cashier should not need to enter the amount twice; the amount should be automatically displayed on the terminal

<oh I get it now, we’re talking about American cash register infrastructure>

2.3 Cardholder Experience: Different Contactless Form Factors
When performing contactless transactions, consumers already use a variety of form factors—contactless cards, mobile wallets on phones, wearables (such as watches, rings, or key fobs)—and there may be additional options in the future. While the “tapping” procedure to initiate the transaction should be the same regardless of form factor, other consumer behavior may not be consistent, especially when using a wallet on a mobile phone.

<I see, smartphone wallets with their own secure authentication are a problem, contactless credit card things with 4 PINs and meaningless terminal signatures are not a problem>

Transactions initiated using a mobile phone involve a two-step process: first, the wallet is activated (using an authentication method such as a biometric,4 PIN, or pattern); second, the phone is placed in proximity to the POS device for the contactless read.

Generally, however, the authentication mechanism used as the cardholder verification method (CVM) will be the consumer device cardholder verification method (CDCVM). CDCVM uses a mobile phone’s passcode or biometric user authentication to verify the cardholder for a payment transaction, removing the need for the cardholder to enter a PIN or provide a signature. Such use can result in an inconsistent consumer experience; sometimes a cardholder may be required to provide a PIN or signature on the terminal (for example, if the contactless terminal does not support CDCVM) and sometimes no verification will be required. However, as consumers become more familiar with the process and as older terminal functionality is replaced with newer technology, there should be fewer inconsistencies. In addition, note that, at this time, some networks may not support CDCVM with their U.S. common debit AID, which may result in inconsistent consumer experience for debit transactions.

 <blah, blah, blah, in other words credit card companies and payment networks will do as little as possible to clean up their own mess and blame somebody else for their problems, what else is new>

3.3 Contactless POS Infrastructure and Acceptance
Contactless acceptance is a major trend globally, with a significant percentage of POS terminals supporting contactless. The following are some key published market statistics:
• According to Juniper Research18 (Figure 5, Figure 6), 31.6% of all terminals in service in North America are contactless; North America accounts for 19.6% of the global installed base of contactless POS terminals.
• Visa has reported that, as of September 2017, 40% of U.S. face-to-face Visa transactions today occur at contactless-enabled locations, that a growing percentage of merchants are enabling contactless.

<wait a minute, what about that North America 19.6% figure? Contactless POS Terminals in Service as a Proportion of All POS Terminals: Asia: 43.6%, Western Europe: 14.3%, North America: 19.6%, we don’t want to talk about context here do we? Too embarrassing>

And the grand finale:

3.5 Open Loop Contactless Payments in Transit
Transit agencies are moving, or considering moving, to open payments with next generation fare payment systems—that is, credit and debit payments made using contactless EMV devices at transit points of entry (e.g., at fare gates, on buses)— to supplement traditional closed-loop acceptance. As noted in Section 2.5, consumer use of contactless payments for transit can help drive incremental transactions and top-of-wallet status for cards. Issuers contemplating transit as a factor in their contactless decisions should be aware that the specific timing for implementing transit open payments within a given region can have some uncertainty. In addition to the schedule impact of procurement and implementation timeframes, issuers should note that transit agencies interested in open payments may also consider the current state of contactless issuance and other relevant factors in their decision- making process.
Other relevant considerations include the following:
• As the market for open payments in transit is still emerging, the content of the authorization/settlement messages sent from different agency back-end systems may not be consistent.
• Transit merchants may require functionality that addresses transaction times and risk, such as offline data authentication (ODA) and/or deferred (or delayed) authorization.

<translation: credit card companies are falling over each other to get into transit and sucker convince transit operators into junking closed ticketing systems. Credit card companies have no interest in ticketing infrastructure outside of skimming their take. Let transit operators spend tax payer money doing all the back-end work and dealing with problems. Let them deal with transit user ire over slow EMV contactless transactions at overcrowded transit gates or when credit cards are de-activated in mid transit.>

What a sweet deal.

What the Hell is VISA Up To in Japan?

VISA is the least consumer friendly card company in Japan. Period. Mastercard, American Express and JCB are making it easy for Japanese customers to use their cards in mobile wallets (Apple Pay, Osaifu Keitai) both domestically and abroad with NFC Switching. NFC certification requires both NFC-A and NFC-F. Smartphones can do it all, how nice.

Except VISA does not want to play nice, they want to play market politics. Witness VISA’s latest boneheaded move reported by Masakazu Tatara on his excellent EPayments JP site: Visa is pulling the plug on Mobile Visa payWave (NFC-A EMV contactless). The last holdout is Sumitomo Mitsui who will terminate service at the end of December 2018. VISA on the iD and QUICPay (NFC-F FeliCa) contactless payment networks remains in place as does plastic card payWave.

As Tatara san asks, what is VISA up to? His quick review of the Mobile VISA payWave spec is helpful and remarkably similar to the Mobile FeliCa spec.

The secure methods for storing Mobile VISA payWave transaction information are:

  1. A mobile device with an Embedded Secure Element (eSE)
  2. HCE (Host Card Emulation in the cloud)
  3. A “Mobile eSE” SWP SIM
  4. A NFC Contactless Payment Sticker

As Tatara san explains, it is the #3 SIM card option that is really being phased out.  #1 includes Apple Pay and Osaifu Keitai devices. The recently released Google Pay Japan is simply an alternative Osaifu Keitai front end that entirely dispenses with the dead HCE-F. As if this was confusing enough, VISA Japan has not signed on with Apple Pay Japan or Google Pay Japan, nor is VISA payWave compatible with the Osaifu Keitai standard. This leaves #2 and #4 as the only real Mobile VISA payWave Japan options going forward. Good luck with that.

Japanese media has speculated that the Sumitomo Mitsu and Mizuho financial groups want to promote QR Code contactless payments over NFC and the death of Mobile VISA payWave proves that QR is winning the contactless payment turf war. Don’t believe it.

In Japan, aka the contactless payment turf war epicenter, the battle line is stored value vs. credit card with stored value cards the clear winner. This week’s Mizuho Suica announcement is proof of that. There isn’t any money for Japanese merchant support of EMV contactless because most inbound tourist business is mainland Chinese who only want to use QR code contactless AliPay and WePay which Japanese will never use.

So where is VISA going in the Japan market? One guess: the success of Apple Pay Suica and the release of the Global FeliCa iPhone/Apple Watch has VISA at a momentary standstill. Because if Google follows Apple’s lead and releases a Global FeliCa Pixel 3 with NFC switching, things will get very interesting. The more Global FeliCa becomes a ho-hum checkbox feature with every smart device, the more VISA Japan will have to play nice with Apple Pay and Google Pay or risk being shoved aside.

Which brings us back to FeliCa again. To outsiders it looks like the Japanese contactless payments market goes round and round, but it doesn’t. VISA Japan goes round and round playing market politics never moving forward, and that does damage. Last month I wrote:

It would be much better for customers if smart device manufacturers bundled all the major middleware stacks (EMV, FeliCa, MIFARE, China Transit, CEPAS) and simply called it Global NFC. Real Global NFC.

Until the industry does a better job of integrating NFC hardware and the various middleware pieces into a virtual whole, NFC confusion will continue to be a problem.

It would be much better for customers if the credit card industry stopped the contactless payment turf wars and started delivering solutions that help customers instead of sowing confusion.

UPDATE: a reader reports says that payWave on SIM cards is pretty much dead everywhere because the “secure element wars are over.” That’s interesting in light of Huawei offering FeliCa Osaifu Keitai service via Docomo with a SIM card. But that is a Docomo thing more than a Huawei thing.

iPhone X Suica Problem Q&A Exchange Guide

1️⃣ iPhone X Suica Problem Q&A Exchange Guide
2️⃣ iPhone X Suica問題Q&A交換ガイド (Japanese)
3️⃣ Apple Denial and iPhone X Users
4️⃣ iPhone X Suica Problem Index

Basics
Q: What is the iPhone X Suica NFC Problem?
A: It’s a iPhone X NFC hardware problem that causes reader errors and double reads on transit gates or store readers on a regular basis: on average 1 out of 3 NFC attempts is an error. See for yourself here.

Q: Can it be fixed?
A: The iPhone X production tally below points to a hardware problem affecting all iPhone X units manufactured before April 2018. Apple fixed iPhone X NFC hardware issues and all units made after 2018 production week 15 (April) are free of the problem. I call these NFC error free units Revision B iPhone X. Rev-B iPhone X units have error free NFC performance that is immediately noticeable.

Reader Feedback iPhone X Production Tally*

iPhone X Production Tally 2018-10-6
Reader Feedback iPhone X Production Tally (as of 2018-10-6) : A simple tally of good/bad iPhone X devices and manufacture dates reported by readers to track production switchover from problem iPhone X devices to Revision B iPhone X devices. All iPhone X devices were running iOS 11.x and include both JP and international iPhone X models.

*Week 15 of 2018 appears to be the Revision B iPhone X switchover production period

Q: Is it a big problem?
A: Yahoo Japan and Google Japan Search Suggestions related to the iPhone X Suica problem are highly ranked which indicates many people in Japan regularly search the topic.

Q: Why is it a problem with iPhone X and not iPhone 8?
A:  Both iPhone models use the same NFC chip but the X logic board is considerably more complex than 8. It could be a logic board RF routing issue, an antenna specification problem, an interaction with other components on the device. Only the Apple Engineers who fixed the problem know the answer.

Q: Is this only a problem in Japan?
A: No, readers report iPhone X NFC problems with China Express Transit cards. In America iPhone X users report similar levels of errors and double reads but were unaware of the problem until they saw my posts. I experienced regular errors and double reads with my January 2018 manufacture iPhone X Suica Problem unit using Apple Pay in America, so yes, I believe the NFC problem is an issue with all iPhone X production SKUs before April 2018 regardless of the sales territory.

Q: Why is it that iPhone X users outside of Japan are unaware of the problem?
A: It boils down to using Apple Pay Express Cards for transit. It’s easy to catch the problem in the high performance, high usage Suica environment in Japan. It’s much harder to catch the problem with low performance EMV regular cash register Apple Pay use outside of Japan.

The Replacement Challenge
Q: How do know if I have a problem iPhone X unit?
A: If you use Apple Pay regularly on your iPhone X and experience reader errors and double reads on a regular basis check the manufacture date by pasting your iPhone X serial number here. A manufacture date is before April 2018 indicates a NFC problem iPhone X unit.

Q: How do I exchange my problem iPhone X unit for a Revision B iPhone X?
A: Apple Support does not publicly acknowledge the iPhone X Suica/NFC problem. Getting an exchange takes time, patience and tenacity. You have to rely on your judgement because exchanging your iPhone X for NFC issues with Apple Support isn’t easy, though it is getting easier to exchange it in Japan.

Apple Support does acknowledge the iPhone X NFC problem internally and will issue you an exchange based on 2 conditions:

  • A wipe and restore did not fix your iPhone X NFC problem
  • You encountered problems using your iPhone X for Apple Pay Express Transit use in Japan (nationwide) or China (Beijing and Shanghai)
  • From a reader who got an iPhone X exchange in the US: “tell them (Apple Support) to look up the internal support article on their iPad (in the store) that states issues with iPhone X for Transit in Japan and China. They found it in when I went to the Apple store in the US on their iPad.”

If you cannot connect your iPhone X NFC problem use case to Apple Pay Express Transit use in Japan or China, Apple will not likely give you an exchange.

If all goes well Apple Support will setup an exchange either at a Genius Bar or Delivery Exchange Service (Japan). Apple Support will have you test the iPhone X hardware via the built in diagnostics test and tell you the results show no problem. Repeat that you want to exchange your iPhone X anyway. Be sure to check the serial number of the new unit here to confirm it was manufactured after April 2018. If so, all is good.

Note 1: Apple Support does not always stock international iPhone X models. It’s recommended that you exchange iPhone X in the same country that your device was purchased in.

Q: Since Apple acknowledges the iPhone X NFC problem internally, will Apple issue an exchange program like they did for the iPhone 8 Logic Board Replacement Program?
A: It took Apple 7 months into iPhone X production to fix the NFC problem. That’s a lot of iPhone X units to replace. I suspect there are frustrated engineers within Apple who know what the problem is but are being controlled by the marketing spin machine. Apple should be proactive but will not unless there is enough bad press to force the issue. I don’t see that happening.

Also: Apple Pay usage rates are not that high and Express Transit is not used outside of Japan and China, people don’t get passionately upset with poor NFC performance as they do with things like battery performance and throttling. In the demanding Japanese transit environment people expect an expensive Apple device to work correctly and Apple to fix it when it does not. I do too. Users and the western centric tech press outside of Japan are willing to give Apple a pass on the iPhone X NFC issue because it doesn’t affect them in their daily iPhone use environment.

Updated 2019-4-5