Entries tagged as NFC

An attempt to use Apple Pay outside USA

Passbook app on iPhone 6 Plus shows Apple Pay option

iOS 8.1 update went live early morning today (in Korea Standard Time). This brings a lot of improvements and fixes, but also enables Apple Pay function for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. In the Passbook app, a new option to add cards to work with Apple Pay is supposed to show up.

Unfortunately, this is only available for the people in the United States at the moment. In fact, if you're using iPhone 6 series outside of the US, it is highly likely that the Passbook app will not show the Apple Pay option at all, as if the function does not exist. This was probably to prevent any confusion about the function that won't currently work in the user's region.

Of course, there's an easy way to force the Apple Pay option to show up if it doesn't. Go to Settings app, and under General > Language and Region > Region Format, set the region to United States. Once you've done that, the Passbook will show the Apple Pay option. You do not have to reboot, or tweak any other settings. As you can see, I'm on a Korean mobile carrier (SKT), the language setting is in Korean, and iTunes and iCloud are all logged into my Korean account.

My credit card can't be added, though

Once you're able to go into the Apple Pay settings, you can try to add the credit card that you have on your hand. The iPhone will be able to recognize the card number via camera, as well. Once the card number, expiration date, and verification number are put, Apple will try to check to see if it'll work with Apple Pay. Unfortunately, the check will fail like this if the card issuer isn't participating.

As of this writing, credit and debit cards issued by nine US-based banks will work and nothing else. Further roll-out seems to be US-only in the near future. If you do have an eligible card, you can add to the Passbook app and make payments on any NFC-enabled card processor, including vending machines.
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Scored an NFC tag at an expo

Blank RFID card formatted to work as a tag
Blank RFID card formatted to work as a tag

Late last month, there was an RFID-themed expo called RFID/IoT World Congress 2013 in COEX. The entry badge happened to contain an RFID card that you could use to tag at a booth so the company running it could know that you visited. It turns out that the card is basically a blank RFID card. My contact info must have been paired to the card's serial number, and the terminals merely checked the number and pulled the paired contact data from a central database.

When I took it home and poked it around with the only NFC-enabled smartphone I have, LG Prada 3.0, the card was a generic MIFARE Ultralight card without any locks or data. These types of card can only contain 64 bytes of data, 48 of which is user-programmable, so it's apparently very limited and cheap. That seems to be a sensible choice for something to hand out to thousands of visitors.

Because it was initially unformatted, regular NFC apps on the phone refused to do anything with it. But with the NXP TagWriter app, I was able to format and write data into it at once. To test, I tried to program the URL of this website and its title into it. It ended up being 47 bytes total, and the card reserved 2 bytes for something else, so it went over the storage limit. I omitted the hyphen and I was able to write the data successfully. When I tag the phone with it, it would load this website.

Looks like I should try to find some cheap MIFARE Ultralight cards like this one and happily program all sorts of things to it.
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