Near-field communication gained traction recently as more companies announced new programs and partnerships to enable users to make payments using mobile devices.
exploring near-field communication technology to spur mobile payments using
smartphones. While mainstream adoption is still years away, several recent
announcements show that the idea is gaining traction despite lingering security
Motion partnered with Spanish telecommunications giant Telefonica to roll out a
pilot program that would allow employees to make electronic payments and gain
physical access to their workplace using their BlackBerry smartphones, RIM announced
Nov. 23. Under the pilot, the 350 Telefonica employees will also get automatic
account balances and transaction confirmations directly from their banks after
making a payment.
The process is
similar to other contactless payments in the market, such as MasterCard's
PayPass, where consumers just wave their credit card in front of the reader.
Startups such as Square are also rolling out services that would allow
smartphones to accept payments.
getting ever closer to the point where our customers will be able to take the
contents of their wallets and put them on their mobiles," said Matthew
Key, CEO of Telefonica Digital.
week, Google announced it will phase out the Google Checkout payment platform in
favor of the new Google Wallet, a U.S.-only payment service, it launched in
September. With the Google Wallet application, users launch the application on
their smartphones to activate the near-field communication (NFC) antenna and
wave the phone near a payment sensor. The application wirelessly debits funds
from linked credit cards. It can also be used for online purchases.
is not yet widely available as the application works only for Nexus S users who
also have a Citibank MasterCard or a Google prepaid card. The NFC payments are
accepted only at merchants that have installed MasterCard's PayPass readers.
announced that it will partner with online vendors such as Fandango.com and
MovieTickets.com to allow consumers to use Google Wallet as a payment option
when checking out.
machine makers have already moved to take advantage of Google Wallet. Vending
machines equipped with Cantaloupe Systems "seed" wireless devices are
automatically compatible with Google Wallet, Cantaloupe Systems announced in
September. Consumers with an NFC-capable smartphone and Google Wallet application
will be able to make purchases by tapping their phones at the machine, Anant
Agrawal, chief marketing officer of Cantaloupe Systems, told eWEEK.
machine operators are interested in cashless mobile-payment options to encourage
consumers to buy even when they don't have coins. The capabilities are
already embedded inside Cantaloupe hardware, making it easy for operators to
roll out the new technology. Toward that end, Cantaloupe Systems also plans to
accommodate other NFC payment systems on their platform as they come to market,
interest in NFC, its adoption lags due to the fact that the technology is still
evolving. Merchants are leery of investing a lot of money in readers when there
are no standards defined for NFC.
GSMA, a global
organization of wireless carriers operating GSM mobile networks, announced that
45 carriers around the world, including AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon
Wireless, are supporting standards for NFC payments and have committed to supporting
and launching services based on those standards. The group also released
handset and SIM specifications for the technology, which would make it more
likely that NFC-based services that are interoperable with each other will
become widely available.
crucial questions now will be whether these carriers stick to their word, and
whether handset makers, other infrastructure providers and consumers follow
these carriers' lead," PaidContent noted.